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Pay claims ‘may flood tribunals’

By Noel McAdam

Published 12/11/2009

Northern Ireland’s industrial tribunals system would be “swamped” by thousands of equal pay claims unless a deal is agreed on more than six years of back-pay with civil servants, it was warned yesterday.

Around 5,000 individual cases are waiting to be triggered if a deal is not reached.

But Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said he expected the cases would “disappear” if a package agreed after months of negotiations is ratified by Executive ministers and accepted by the main civil service union, the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA).

NIPSA general secretary John Corey said: “I want the money to go into the pockets of people as soon as possible and we have been pressing for that to happen.

“The fact is this is a matter of law, ministers have recognised there’s a requirement to reach agreement on this and once we have a formal offer we will consult our membership and go for a ballot, which could take a month.”

Up to 13,000 low-grade, primarily female, civil servants who are admin officers and assistants are in line for equal pay compensation, although they’re unlikely to have the cash until the next year.

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