Belfast Telegraph

Jobs cull in Northern Ireland Civil Service: 1,000 posts to go by March

A thousand Civil Service jobs will have been lost by the end of this financial year, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Around two-thirds of the total — 637 posts overall — have already been cut across the 11 Government departments and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

But more than 350 additional posts are to go before the end of March, when the latest round of proposed cuts under Sammy Wilson’s draft Budget will begin to be implemented.

The main Civil Service union called the cull “just the tip of the iceberg”, with much worse to come.

The union’s warning came as it emerged Executive ministers have been asked to make their detailed spending plans public within the next few days.

Updated figures from the Department of Finance reveal a total of 996 Civil Service jobs will be lost in the current financial year — 359 of them still to take effect.

Worst hit so far has been the Department for Social Development which has lost 345 staff in the six months before the end of September, and will see a further 176 go before the end of March.

But the biggest losses in the coming three months will be at the Department of the Environment, where 233 posts will be

axed — many of them planners who have switched to Land and Property Services.

But some departments, including Mr Wilson’s Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) and the Department for Employment and Learning, are understaffed and have vacant posts which have not yet been filled.

Bumper Graham, assistant general secretary of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (Nipsa), said: “This is just the tip of the iceberg for what is to come and this is just the Civil Service.

“It is equally depressing in other sectors, with local councils running voluntary redundancy schemes, and people being let go in the education and library boards and in the health service.

“Already senior health managers are warning of 4,000 people being laid off and yet we are told their budget is marginally increased, so it is potentially catastrophic in other areas. We are warning of tens of thousands of job losses across the civil and public services.”

His comments came as Nipsa members distributed leaflets urging people to “take a stand”.

A Nipsa official said: “We have got to stand up and fight the cuts, not just against the Stormont Executive but also against the UK-wide coalition Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government and the nonsense they are spouting that jobs could have been saved if unions had agreed to pay freezes and so on.”

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