Belfast Telegraph

6% pay hike for some in Civil Service, but vast majority given just 1%

 

By Rebecca Black

Some civil servants received an inflation-busting pay hike of 6% last year, it has emerged.

The group, termed industrial staff, were awarded the increase in 2016 as a result of a pay and grading review.

Around 96% of senior civil servants also received a pay increase, with 93% getting between 2% and 3.9%, figures show.

However, the average pay increase for civil servants in Northern Ireland last year was just 1%.

The figures were released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency in a report giving an overview of pay for the Civil Service.

The report reveals that the average - median full-time equivalent - basic salary of Civil Service staff is £24,975, which is a 1% increase on the equivalent figure for 2016.

It also reports that the median basic salary (full-time equivalent) of Civil Service staff at administrative assistant and administrative officer grade levels was higher than that of civil servants at the equivalent levels in England, Scotland and Wales.

But the situation is reversed at higher staffing grades, the report finds.

The median basic salary of senior civil servants here was lower than the median basic salary of their counterparts in Britain.

The report comes after the Department of Health said the setting of public sector pay policy for 2017-18 had cleared the way for the implementation of a 2017/18 pay award for more than 55,000 local health and social care workers.

The 1% uplift was recommended earlier this year by the independent NHS Pay Review Body and the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration.

Implementation was delayed in the absence of a Northern Ireland public sector pay policy for 2017/18.

However, Bumper Graham from trade union Nipsa said the union is still in negotiations for a pay increase for civil servants for the 2017/18 financial year.

He told the Belfast Telegraph that those talks had hit a brick wall because there were no ministers in post at Stormont to approve an outcome.

"Civil servants got a 1% pay increase last year, which is way below the rate of inflation, and haven't had their 2017 pay increase. Inflation is running in excess of 3% currently," he said.

"Public servants and civil servants since 2012 have had either no pay increase or 1%, and as a consequence are now lagging behind very considerably where they were in 2012.

"Around 95% of the Civil Service would have got only 1% last year, and they have nothing so far this year."

Mr Graham defended the union's attempts to seek better pay for its members.

He added: "We have lodged our claim for 5%, which we believe is fair because inflation is above 3% and the small difference between the three and the five is to try and regain a little bit of all the ground that was lost between 2012 and now where people's pay in real terms is 12% less than it would have been in 2012.

"At the end of the day, an increase in our members' pay is going to be spent in local shops, restaurants, cinemas etc, which will only boost the local economy."

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