Northern Ireland civil servants to get long-awaited pay rise

Unions agree to offer of 5% pay rise and £1,500 lump sum for most NICS officials
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Civil servants in Northern Ireland will receive a 5% pay rise and a one-off payment of £1,500 under a deal agreed with unions this week.

Under the 2022-23 pay deal, all “eligible satisfactory performers” in the Northern Ireland Civil Service will move one point up their pay scale, with pay rises backdated to August 2023. Any officials that receive a less-than-5% increase will receive a non-consolidated, non-pensionable payment to bring their pay rise for the year up to 5%.

The lowest-paid officials – at administrative assistant level and the industrial equivalent – will see their pay go up by 10% to meet the Living Wage Foundation rate of £23,177 a year.

Staff who are paid weekly will receive their backdated pay rise in May, while those paid monthly will be paid in June.

Civil servants were among an estimated 170,000 public servants across 15 trade unions who staged a mass strike in January, after ministers in Westminster refused to step in to make pay awards amid Northern Ireland's long-running power vacuum.

When the offer was put forward in February, shortly after power-sharing was restored, NIPSA trade union general secretary Carmel Gates, said she had "no doubt" the industrial action had "brought this offer to the table”. 

“I believe members will welcome an offer that, for the first time in decades, is above the level of inflation. I believe the offer acknowledges the key role civil servants play in keeping the fabric of society functioning,” she said.

“The £1,500 lump sum also goes some way towards clawing back the ground lost by the derisory £552 award imposed last year.

"This deal, which for the first time in years has no strings attached, begins to set right the wrongs our members endured because of sustained and historic low pay."

She said the offer would be a "good starting point on which to base negotiations going forward so that civil servants are properly valued for the work they do".

Finance minister Caoimhe Archibald, who signed off on the pay offer soon after she took on the role in February, said: “As the minister with responsibility for the civil service, I was pleased to be able to move quickly to make the 2023 pay offer. This pay award recognises the important work being done by civil servants in helping to deliver public services. I am pleased unions have accepted the offer.”

“We will be keeping staff updated and arrangements are being made to ensure payment of the award in May for industrial civil servants and June for non-industrial civil servants,” she added.

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