The Department of Finance has today published the 2019/20 Pay Remit for public sector workers. The announcement effectively means that the austerity agenda continues with no change to pay policy for 2019/20. Effectively this would mean that public sector workers whether they be civil servants, heath workers, education workers etc. will have their pay increase capped at a below inflation level for the tenth year in a row. This is totally unacceptable and does not auger well for industrial relations across the public sector.
Members in the NICS are currently engaged in industrial action on the issue of pay, terms and conditions and our members in the Health Service will be receiving their ballot papers next week on the issue of pay and safe staffing levels. As members will be also be aware, teachers have been engaged in industrial action for a number of years and have not had a pay increase since 2016.
This is another slap in the face for hard working civil and public servants who have continued to deliver vital public services in the absence of the NI Assembly. I have no doubt this announcement will further anger members and strengthen their resolve to fight for decent pay and a fair increase.
NIPSA will consider carefully our next steps, in consultation with our members, but members can be assured we will be using the General Election as an opportunity to challenge candidates standing in that election about what they will do to ensure that public sector workers get a fair and decent pay increase. NIPSA is also raising this matter directly with the NI Select Committee at Westminster. Yours sincerely
As members may be aware the McCloud case, which was taken by the Fire Brigade’s Union (FBU) which determined the transitional protections afforded to older workers was discriminatory on the grounds of age.
The attached is an agreed joint statement between the Management Side and Public Sector Trade Unions in Northern Ireland.
This is a complex situation which will take some time to work through across all schemes. In due course, as the situation becomes clearer, further bulletins will be issued.
It has come to the attention of the recognised Trade Unions within Newry, Mourne and Down District Council that advance discussions and meetings have taken place between the Council and CAPITA to privatise Planning Services in part or whole.
The information we have to date is that a secret meeting took place on the 29 April 2019 with members of the senior management team including the Chief Executive.
The Trade Unions are informed that at that meeting CAPITA gave a presentation which resulted in an imminent 12 week trial period of the services they provide.
We are extremely concerned as no consultation, formal or otherwise, has taken place regarding this attempt to privatise the work of our members. More importantly to the rate payers of the Council area we believe this has been done without the knowledge of the elected members.
We are equally concerned that Management of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have refused to meet with the full time Trade Union officials on this matter despite our request. We have now written to the Council and insisted that no further action regarding this proposal is taken until such times as this required and meaningful consultation takes place.
We cannot stand by and let this Council privatise the work of staff and erode their terms and conditions.
Private companies are only concerned about profit. This is a system that has seen many failures in many areas of the public sector. We believe the haste in which this has been done by Council can only lead to another such failure and detriment of the services provided.
The Trade Unions will be seeking meetings with the newly elected members to highlight our concerns and to ensure this matter is brought to the attention of the public.
NIPSA Branches and members are quite understandably concerned and continue to seek explanations about the delay in prosecuting these cases, given that they were originally lodged in the summer of 2016.
Periodically, the General Secretary and my predecessor Kevin McCabe met with the Legal Advisors who have taken carriage of the 650+ cases that NIPSA has lodged along with the 150+ cases that Unison have also lodged and who have agreed to legally joint fund the cost of prosecuting these cases.
Our Legal Advisors have provided us with the following update:-
"At a recent and further Case Management Discussion held at the Office of Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal (OITFET), an Employment Judge ruled that these current cases will be stayed to await the outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court on the earlier Mencap decision."
NIPSA has been advised that if members have for whatever reason stopped doing sleep-ins as part of their normal working arrangements, or will not be doing sleep-ins for a period of excess of 3 months, then they need to advise NIPSA as a matter of priority as proceedings would have to be lodged on a protective basis on their behalf. It is your responsibility to confirm your current position if and when you have stopped doing sleep-ins and why.
Reason for stopping sleep-ins (inclusive of any period of stopping sleep-ins for longer than 3 months
When you stopped working sleep-ins
Name of employer whilst working sleep-ins
Further to NIPSA Bulletin B-3-19 dated 14 March 2019 I am writing to advise that I have this morning been advised that the Management Side have decided to proceed with the external Staff Officer and Deputy Principal competitions despite NIPSA registering a disagreement on the issue.
NIPSA has not been consulted on the CIB for either of these posts nor has it been acknowledged that we have registered disagreement and therefore in line with the Central Whitley Constitution and good industrial relations practices the competitions should have been halted.
NIPSA's Civil Service Executive Committee is meeting this afternoon and will urgently be reviewing a number of options.
This is a disgraceful way to treat staff and the recognised trade union for Non-Industrial staff in the NICS.
A further communication and information will be issued later today.
Alison Millar, General Secretary NIPSA said it was disgusting and abhorrent that a young journalist Lyra McKee lost her life last night in carrying out her job. It is totally unacceptable that violence has returned to our streets. On behalf of NIPSA I wish to extend our condolences to Lyra's family and to the NUJ who have lost a friend and comrade.
There can be no going back to the dark days of violence and murder.