Progress on areas of public sector pay disputes but uncertainty as RCN says pay deal falls short

After progress in recent days, there is now a pay deal on the table for health workers, public transport staff, and the majority of civil servants.

Departments are offering a 5% pay rise with a £1500 ''one-off payment''.

The pay deals will now be put to union members, but some unions believe the deals still fall short.

In the health sector, under the proposed settlement thousands of health workers will have pay parity restored on their pay bands, and will further receive an unconsolidated lump sum for all staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions.

The offer will be backdated to April 2023.

Unions will now put the offer to their members, but the Royal College of Nursing say the deal still falls short.

Rita Devlin of the RCN NI said that she wouldn't be making a recommendation to their members as to how to vote.

She said members would be given all the information they need to understand a complicated pay offer.

Speaking to UTV, she said there were concerns over the one-off lump sum, and how it may disadvantage some members.

There has been progress as well for transport workers. Three days of industrial action scheduled for later this week has been called off after unions received a new offer.

It comes after Unite, GMB and Siptu reconvened talks with Translink on Sunday.

The three unions are to ballot their members on the new offer.

Meanwhile, Civil servants in Northern Ireland have been made an offer of a 5% pay increase and a one-off £1,500 payment.

Stormont Finance Minister Caoimhe Archibald put forward the offer on Monday.

The offer includes a 5% increase to the majority of Civil Service pay scales, bringing up the pay of the lowest-paid staff to the voluntary Living Wage Foundation rates of £12 an hour or £23,177 annually – a 10% increase – performance-related progression and a £1,500 non-consolidated payment to staff eligible for the 2023 pay award.

It comes following negotiations with Civil Service trade unions.

Those unions too are now set to confer with their members over the offer.

Following the restoration of devolved government earlier this month, Ms Archibald said her department aimed to move quickly.

“Following meetings with recognised Civil Service unions last week, I am pleased to have been able to move quickly to make this pay offer for civil servants which recognises their role in the delivery of public services,” she said.

“Civil servants, like other public servants, have been waiting some time for their 2023 pay award against the context of a cost-of-living crisis and pressures on their own household budgets.

“I hope staff will look favourably on the offer and that unions’ consultation with their members will proceed as swiftly as possible so we can get pay to staff as soon as practicable.

“Our public sector workers are at the heart of service delivery. We have a challenging journey of enhancing services in the time ahead for which we will need the expertise of our staff.”

Nipsa, the largest union representing civil servants in Northern Ireland, said it was recommending the offer to its members.

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