The current civil service equal pay claim is now entering its 16th month since the ex-Finance Minister, Peter Robinson, first brought it to the public notice in May last year.
Meetings between the union Nipsa and Department of Finance and Personnel management have come and gone, with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Whilst MLAs have stated this is a travesty and must be put right, civil servants are beginning to wonder if they will ever see their money. We are told negotiations are intricate and it will take time to sort out satisfactorily before being put to union members for a vote to accept or reject.
The union is always stating it has been campaigning for years for equal pay for its members. Every time that the pay is
up for discussion, the union states it is looking for parity with the mainland civil service. Why did the union not discover that their members in Northern Ireland were being paid less than on the mainland in the same grade?
Ordinary staff are beginning to wonder if the union is being helpful or a hindrance.
A recent newspaper report stated that the final bill could come to more than £200 million for affected staff. A DFP spokesperson is quoted as stating “there is little hope of this being settled by the end of this year”.
This is not what low-paid civil servants want to hear.
LOW-PAID CIVIL SERVANT