Northern Ireland staff escalate action

Social workers in Northern Ireland are stepping up their industrial
action this week in a bid to secure a pay increase.

The action is to be escalated by members of the Northern Ireland
Public Service Alliance who are refusing to take on new client
referrals as part of their continuing battle with management.

“Nipsa is saddened that a dedicated group of workers, whose actions
are usually associated with campaigning for resources to protect
vulnerable groups in society, have been forced into this action to
secure equal pay for work of equal value from employers who know
the validity of our case but who appear hamstrung by New Labour
dogma and the direct rule ministers,” said Brian Campfield, deputy
general secretary of Nipsa.

The pay claim was first lodged by Nipsa in February 2002. The union
has outlined a resolution to the dispute including an interim
increase coupled with a job evaluation scheme to secure parity
within an agreed framework.

Strike action was averted in May when management agreed to
formulate a new offer to the union, which represents 1,800 social
workers. However, new negotiations have failed to resolve the

The union claims Westminster politicians are interfering, blocking
a resolution. Social workers are reluctant to take further
industrial action, but they feel they have no choice, Unison said.

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