ni civil servants consider general strike in september over ‘insulting’ pay offer
Last updated on July 7th, 2023 at 05:39 am
Feeling angry and insulted, Northern Ireland’s civil servants are considering a general strike over pay in September to ensure the message gets across, Carmel Gates, the general secretary of the Nipsa trade union, has said.
Recounting the situation in the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme, she stressed a recent pay offer of £552 had left union members feeling “very badly treated”. Some civil servants are questioning their futures, and Gates said many felt the need to “make a bigger noise”.
Decent Public Services Necessitate Decent Wages
She raised concerns over the services potentially suffering if additional funding, not just for the services but also for the people who work in them, doesn’t arrive in time. Workers are starting to doubt whether they should remain in their posts, the general secretary further mentioned.
The people were offered a pay rise of £552 in January. The amount is worth less than 2% to a typical member of staff. Trade unions had called for hikes to be in line with inflation, plus 5%, and scores of their members launched an industrial action in April.
Gates said decent public services necessitate decent wages for public servants. “[£552] amounts to seven or eight pounds a week – absolutely negligible in the overall scheme of things and how everything has increased,” she added.
Gates Underscores Better Pay Offers In Great Britain
She highlighted how Great Britain’s civil servants had been offered a compensatory payment of £1,500, on top of a better pay offer than their Northern Ireland counterparts, while NI unions had been given no hints of a potential extra payment.
When asked about plans for a general strike in autumn, Gates said wider action was necessary to get the message across. A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Office said the UK government had no authority to negotiate compensation in the region.