It is clear that the NICS and the Department of Finance Permanent Secretary, Sue Gray, have seriously underestimated the strength of feeling and the determination of NIPSA members and activists. If NIPSA ramps up its industrial action planning, with the organisation of strike committees in local areas and with the development of a strategy and tactics to take the dispute through to Christmas and into the new year, then this shambles of a Tory government can be forced to blink first.
The 2018/19 pay award is a complete slap in the face for workers who are justifiably angry, having seen their counterparts in Scotland receive 4% in comparison. After seven years of pay-restraint, many civil servants are using food banks, working second jobs or relying on credit to get by.
This is a crucial battle which deserves the support of all working-class people. A victory for the civil servants would act to boost the confidence of workers across both the public and private sectors and show that it is possible to fight back against poverty pay and austerity.
At the end of February, the Department of Health for Northern Ireland enforced a pay ‘award’ on health workers. This was imposed above the heads of the trade unions after an intense period of negotiations reached an impasse and workers gave overwhelming support for industrial action, including strike action, in consultative ballots conducted by the unions.
Those behind the recent bombing and security alerts in Derry offer nothing but a return to the futile conflict of the past. Their actions put lives at risk and only serve to whip up sectarian tensions in society and potentially legitimise attacks on democratic rights. These groups are opposed by the vast majority of people, Protestant, Catholic and neither.
After three days of positive debate and discussion and with firm foundations laid for the year ahead, Conference ended with a rendition of Pete Seeger’s rousing union song ‘Solidarity Forever’. Delegates standing with fists held high understood this could not have been more significant.
The failure of the DUP and Sinn Féin to agree a basis to re-establish an Executive has hampered and delayed the annual round of pay negotiations for civil servants. When it became clear that there was little prospect of the two main parties returning to partnership in government, and having consulted with members, public sector union NIPSA reluctantly entered formal pay negotiations with the NI civil service (NICS) management, submitting a 5% pay claim in July 2017. This reflected the anger of members at 7 years of pay awards below inflation.
2018 has opened with a crisis across our entire health service. Working people are both worried and angry – worried about the service they will receive if they become ill and angry about the unending programme of austerity which has chipped away at our public services. Previously, the Northern […]