Civil service pay dispute

Intensify the action now!

CIVIL SERVANTS are solidly behind the industrial action against the nil percent pay rise they have been offered. Lies and spin is coming from Ministers claiming that they have offered over 3% when all members are getting is their annual increment which has nothing to do with their yearly pay rise.

By Paul Dale. Vice Chair Civil Service Executive NIPSA

Following December's one day strike, the Office of Industrial Tribunals was out for three days while Strabane Social Security Agency came out for five days. Such was the enthusiasm in Strabane all 60 workers were on the picket line on the first day in temperatures close to freezing point.

Following this, Telephonists have struck for three days and, from 10 February, meat inspectors will strike for four days. The one day strike on 6 February will be an undoubted success.

Members, including some who would not have considered going on strike a few months ago, are now up for action. Activists have organised pickets expecting a handful and dozens have turned up. The rallies held on consecutive Fridays at the end of January were massive with halls filled to overflowing. At least 1,600 turned out for the first Belfast rally with 500 unable to squeeze into the hall. The first stages of a new leadership have tentatively come forward at branch level.

The only question now however is how do we win the dispute? Management sought discussions with NIPSA which have proved to be a waste of time. Minister Pearson is staking his career on dealing with the "troublesome" civil servants.

Those same civil servants reach into every facet of life in N. Ireland. We have greater control on society than we understand. The CS Executive must intensify the action. Socialist Party members in NIPSA have argued that the selective action be stepped up, with more groups brought out and for longer periods. Further strike days should be set, beginning with a two day strike as a follow up to the 6 February strike. Any delay now will be fatal. As all rank and file members understand - we must strike now while the momentum is there to win.

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This article is from the Feb. 2004 edition of Socialist Voice.

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