26 September 2023

NORTHERN IRELAND: Union predicts more pay protests

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Northern Ireland’s biggest public sector union says the failure to provide an increased pay offer for the Province’s Public Servants will result in an escalation of industrial action.

The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) called for a street protest as it continues to call for a revision to a pay offer it previously slammed as “insulting and derisory”.

The protest took place at the Northern Ireland Office headquarters in the Belfast City Centre.

In a statement, NIPSA said the pay offer of £552 ($A1,048) for the year was the lowest received by any Public Servant in the United Kingdom.

NIPSA members took part in strike action in April over the offer, and have now warned further industrial action is on the cards if the Northern Ireland Secretary at Westminster, Chris Heaton-Harris does not boost the offer.

The union has said Mr Heaton-Harris was imposing sanctions on the Province’s public services in a bid to force political parties to return to a power-sharing Government.

Union General Secretary, Carmel Gates said her members were angry about their pay award, even more so now that Public Servants in Britain, who already received a better award than them, had been offered an additional compensatory award of £1,500 ($A2,848).

“Yet again ordinary working-class people are victims of the economic sanctions that the Secretary of State has imposed here. He is punishing workers to get at the politicians and his actions are disgraceful,” Ms Gates (pictured) said.

A Northern Ireland Office spokesperson said the Secretary of State had no authority to negotiate pay in Northern Ireland.

“We hope that locally accountable political leaders come back into place to take fundamental decisions on Northern Ireland’s public services and deliver better outcomes for the people of Northern Ireland,” the spokesperson said.

Belfast, 30 June 2023

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