Civil servants to strike in Derry tomorrow

NIPSA PROTEST. . . .Staff at the Dole Office, Asylum Road pictured during a previous protest several years ago. DER3915MC034
NIPSA PROTEST. . . .Staff at the Dole Office, Asylum Road pictured during a previous protest several years ago. DER3915MC034

Civil Service workers across the north west will be gathering in Derry tomorrow (Friday July 26) for strike action over pay and conditions.

NIPSA members in the Northern Ireland Civil Service will be on the picket lines at a number of buildings in Derry, including Foyle Jobs and Benefits Office on Asylum Road, Carlisle House on Carlisle Road and Orchard House on Foyle Street from early morning until 10.15am.

Following the picket lines, members will gather for a rally at the City Hotel from 10.30am.

The Strike has been organised in relation to an imposed pay deal of 1.25% and changes to terms and conditions of employment which union officials claim have been implemented without proper and meaningful consultation.

NIPSA’s Deputy General Secretary, Carmel Gates will be addressing the rally in Derry along with Gerry Murphy, President, Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Alison Millar, NIPSA General Secretary stated: “Following a statutory ballot of members in the Northern Ireland Civil Service and their Arms Length Bodies NIPSA has served notice on the employers that industrial action will commence on Friday 26 July with a one day strike.

“This is not a decision our members took lightly however our members are angry that they have received, for the ninth year running a below inflation pay increase.”

Alison Miller claimed that in addition to this the workers “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 2018/19 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. NIPSA members are clear in seeking to defend their pay, terms and conditions. They are saying loud and clear – enough is enough.

“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 hard working 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.”

In addition to the strike on 26 July 2019 action short of strike action will commence on July 29.

A Department of Finance (DoF) spokesperson meanwhile claimed: “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 Northern Ireland Civil Service (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.

“The NICS is seeking to ensure essential services continue to be delivered during the planned industrial action which is being taken by NIPSA from 26th July.”