NIPSA To Hold DSD Protest

Northern Ireland's largest trade union NIPSA is to hold a protest outside the Department for Social Development headquarters this afternoon against the privatisation of Support Grades.

The protest will be held at Lighthouse Building, Gasworks Business Park, Belfast, at 12:30.

The move follows DSD Minister Nelson McCausland's recent announcement that he will attempt to secure new jobs for Northern Ireland for his Department in negotiations with the Department of Work and Pensions in Great Britain.

"Whilst NIPSA welcome this initiative it compares to the fact that the Department have decided to privatise 150 jobs in the lowest grade in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, the support grades," a statement from NIPSA said.

"This appalling decision, made by senior and well paid Northern Ireland Civil Service Management in the Department for Social Development, has to be condemned," said NIPSA's Tony McMullan.

"There is no logical or reasonable explanation for such a privatisation. The staff in these grades have provided very valuable and dedicated service for many years. They only want to continue doing that. However DSD have decided to put this out to the private sector on the basis that the private sector will, allegedly, save money. That can only be done by cutting corners, cutting salaries and worsening terms and conditions. There is no other logical explanation about how a private sector company could save money given that these grades are already the lowest paid in the Northern Ireland Civil Service."

NIPSA has called upon the Minister McCausland and the Permanent Secretary of the Department Will Haire to reverse the decision.

"Private sector companies are not interested in providing quality service but merely making money to provide to their shareholders," NIPSA said.

NIPSA President Patrick Mulholland is to address today's rally at 12:30.


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