Assembly Seeks 'Equality' On Civil Service Pay

There should be equal pay for work of equal value, Stormont Finance and Personnel Minister Nigel Dodds insisted.

He said on Monday that he is determined to establish a civil service pay and grading system that ensures such equality.

Speaking following an Assembly debate on equal pay claims, Mr Dodds said: "I am concerned that we should bring matters to a conclusion as quickly as possible but, given the scale and complexity of the issues involved, I am also concerned to see that we do so in a manner that is compatible with our legal obligations.

"We must be fully informed by the facts, and in a way that ensures both a fair and robust pay and grading structure, and a civil service pay system that is affordable into the future," he said.

"The issue currently facing the Northern Ireland Civil Service is not new. The issues we are now working hard to understand and resolve were inherited by us from Direct Rule Ministers, but this administration will deal with them, once and for all," continued the senior NI Executive member.

"We are also determined that will we establish pay and grading arrangements for civil servants that will ensure that we do not find ourselves in this position again in the future," he continued.

The Minister confirmed that he had instructed his officials to work with the trade union to establish whether a negotiated settlement to the issue was possible.

He also reported that he had met with union officials from NIPSA who had confirmed to him that they too were committed to this approach and that they would work with his officials to try and achieve this objective.

On the question on timescales, the Minister said that he could not give a timescale within which he might achieve a resolution of the issue, but that work was underway and neither side would delay matters unreasonably.

"There are those that would accuse me or my officials of delaying efforts to seek a resolution to this matter, but I refute any such allegations.

"I have stated in the Assembly Chamber repeatedly my determination to see this matter resolved," he said.

Looking ahead, Mr Dodds stressed the need to ensure that the Civil Service had a pay system that could demonstrate that equal pay is paid for work of equal value.


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