NICS Pay Offer 2019-2020

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:45 pm on 30th June 2020.

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Photo of Gerry Carroll Gerry Carroll People Before Profit Alliance 2:45 pm, 30th June 2020

2. Mr Carroll asked the Minister of Finance for his assessment of the 2019-2020 Northern Ireland Civil Service pay offer. (AQO 509/17-22)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

My assessment is that, at 2·65% of the pay bill, the 2019-2020 Civil Service pay award represents an above-inflation pay rise.

Photo of Gerry Carroll Gerry Carroll People Before Profit Alliance

I thank the Minister for his reply, even if it was short. In a previous debate, his party colleague Mr O'Dowd referenced the need to tackle low pay, which I agree with. Given that Civil Service workers have been working hard throughout the pandemic, and for many years a lot of them have been forced to take up an extra job, will the Minister commit to paying Civil Service workers an above-inflation offer, to help deal with the extra costs and pressures of everyday life, especially those associated with COVID-19?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

We voted for the Budget to give low-paid workers an increase, but I think that the Member did not vote for it. I fully accept that workers are under pressure, which is why we made an offer to the trade unions. Unfortunately, they could not fully consult on it because of the COVID restrictions. The overall award is worth 2·65% on the Civil Service pay bill. The award for civil servants at the lowest pay grade was 3%, which was a further 2% increase on 2019, meaning that the lowest paid civil servants have received a 5% increase across the last two years. I fully recognise the commitment of many in our Civil Service who have stepped up to the plate during the pandemic and the emergency that we have faced, and it is important to recognise that with an above-inflation pay rise, which is what I have offered.