NIPSA, together with other public sector trade unions are meeting with Sue Gray, the Permanent Secretary, Department of Finance on Monday 14 October 2019 to engage with her and her team on the Public Sector Pay Remit for 2019/20. Last year, without reference to any trade union, the Public Sector Pay Remit was set which then severely impacted on all trade unions, including NIPSA to effectively negotiate via the various collective bargaining arrangements in Northern Ireland for a just, fair and decent outcome for our members who have suffered 9 years of pay cuts and austerity.
Following discussion at the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions it was agreed that we needed to meet with the Department of Finance Permanent Secretary to significantly influence her thinking before any pay remit was set otherwise we would be back in the same position as last year.
The meeting is scheduled for 14 October 2019 and NIPSA, together with the other public sector unions, will be making a strong and robust case for a just, fair and decent outcome for all public sector workers who have borne the brunt of austerity since 2010. Year on year members have received pay cuts – by receiving below inflation increases year on year. This cannot be allowed to continue.
As members will have heard in the press today, the Royal College of Nurses have commenced an industrial action ballot on the issue of pay and safe staffing levels. This is the first time in their 103 year history they have taken such a courageous step. Both NIPSA and Unison are also about to commence an industrial action ballot in the coming days in the Health Sector. In addition Teacher Unions have been engaged in industrial action over the past 2½ years on the issue of pay and workload.
As members will already be aware in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, NIPSA members are already engaged in strike action and action short of strike action.
This is a very important meeting. As General Secretary of NIPSA and Vice-President of ICTU I will be making a strong stand on behalf of NIPSA members and public sector workers generally. Workers and trade union members across the Public Sector have had enough and everyone deserves a just and fair pay increase. We will be making our position very clear to Sue Gray.
A further bulletin will be issued following our meeting on Monday 14 October 2019.