Northern Ireland Civil Service staff strike in pay and conditions dispute


Staff employed by the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS), who are members of the trade union Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (Nipsa), are today (Friday 26 July 2019) undertaking strike action in a dispute on pay and employee terms and conditions.

The industrial action includes two rallies, due to commence at 11.15am, held at Grosvenor Hall in Belfast and City Hotel, Londonderry.

The dispute, according to Nipsa, regards changes to employees’ terms and conditions, as well as an imposed pay increase of 1.25%, which are being implemented without proper consultation.

Affected employees who are Nipsa members are further planning action short of a strike, to start on Monday 29 July 2019.

Alison Millar, general secretary at Nipsa, said: “Our members are angry that they have received, for the ninth year running, a below-inflation pay increase. In addition, their terms and conditions of employment are under attack. Our members have clearly demonstrated their anger and are resolute in seeking to ensure that the employer re-opens the pay negotiations for 2018-2019 and properly negotiates with Nipsa on both the issue of pay and other terms and conditions.

“Nipsa has had to take the unprecedented decision to lodge a Judicial Review on the lack of consultation on terms and conditions issues regarding promotion opportunities within the NICS.

“In the last few days, Nipsa has written to all political parties asking that they both meet with Nipsa and engage with the Senior Civil Service on our behalf to ensure that hardworking civil servants who have kept the civil service running in the absence of the Assembly are appropriately rewarded. The public will be shocked to learn that the lowest paid civil servants had to get a slightly higher pay increase, not because of the generosity of the employer, but to ensure that civil servants were not paid below the national minimum wage.”

A spokesperson at the Department of Finance (DOF), added: “Following extensive negotiations with trade unions on the 2018 pay award, they rejected the pay offer made. Steps have therefore been taken to implement the 2018 pay award. This will be paid to staff on 29 July.

“DOF believes the pay award is fair in the context of the challenging financial environment the NICS is operating in, with finite resources available and increasing pressures. The pay award to non-industrial civil servants is worth 2.05% of NICS’ pay bill, with the cost of this award being around £16.4 million. DOF is keen to tackle low pay in the NICS and so the pay award includes a larger increase of 3% at administrative assistant and analogous grades, with all others receiving a 1.25% uplift as well as any progression payment due.”