20/02/2004

Adams calls on Pearson to end pay dispute

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called on NIO Minister, Ian Pearson to end the current pay dispute between the government and Civil Service staff.

The call comes in light of recent strike action taken by Northern Ireland Civil Service staff as they try to push the government into improving pay despite an imposed pay package which will add 3.67% to the wage bill of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Union representatives for the workers, however, say this package was already part of a pre-agreed increment and took no account of the rise in the cost of living.

Mr Adams said: "The bullying attitude being adopted by the Minister Ian Pearson regarding the Civil Service workers currently engaged in industrial action is unacceptable. This sort of Thatcherite, cavalier approach to industrial relations will not work."

Commenting on the recent threat by the Department for Social Development to suspend employees who fail to turn up for work, Mr Adams added: "Mr Pearson needs to sit down with union representatives and find an equitable solution to this dispute through dialogue. Threatening or suspending workers involved in this action does not contribute to an environment in which this dispute can be resolved."

Earlier this month up to 20,000 Northern Ireland civil servants went on strike in relation to the pay dispute.

Last week, however, the government threatened to suspend any civil service worker who goes on strike in relation to the dispute.

In a statement, the Department for Social Development said it would suspend, without pay, "any member of staff who embarks on further industrial action that disrupts business and is in breach of the terms of their employment".

(MB)

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