Members in NI Assembly please see below letter sent today to MLAs.

Dooley Harte
Assistant Secretary

I am writing to provide you with a copy of a press release (link below) that we have just issued today after lodging notice to ballot our members employed by the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission on Pay and Working from Home.

As argued in our engagement with NIA management, our members at NI Assembly are not immune to the severe increases in the cost of living and the massive increases in fuel, energy and food bills. As I am sure you are aware, inflation has been running at over 5% for some time now and forecasts are indicating an increase of around 8%, therefore the decision to offer a 2% increase for 2021 pay is in effect, a pay cut for Assembly workers. Our members are not prepared to accept this.

Coupled with this, management have sought to introduce a working from home policy that seriously restricts homeworking and which takes no account of business needs or staff preferences. It will also mean significant increases in travel costs for many staff who will now be expected to attend the office, even though they can complete all of their duties from home. In a recent survey carried out by NIPSA, 83% of respondents wanted an improved homeworking arrangements policy rather than the management version because of unnecessary restrictions contained in the policy.

Given the strength of feeling on both of these issues, NIPSA has agreed to ballot members for industrial action, up to and including strike action. We have served the required seven-day notice today and the ballot will issue on 8 April 2022, closing on 29 April 2022.

Our members would welcome your public support on these matters and I would say at this point, there is still an opportunity to avert industrial action. I would therefore urge you to use whatever influence you can with management and the Assembly Commission to push for a resolution to both these matters before the ballot is issued on 8 April 2022.