'No Bonuses' For Public Sector Bosses

Senior Northern Ireland civil servants will not receive bonuses this year, The Stormont Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has said.

Mr Wilson said he had considered all "relevant factors" - including public debate over public sector pay - and decided to cut the award scheme to top level workers.

"In light of the significant pressures on public finances and the very real difficulties facing the wider economy, I believe it would not be appropriate to include bonus payments in this year's pay award to senior civil servants," he said.

The move will save the taxpayer £1.1m, the Minister claimed.

The top 220 civil servants in NI will nevertheless receive a 3.5% increase in basic salary.

But, senior civil service pay bands will also be frozen at their 2008 levels, with no cost of living increase at the bottom or top ends.

This will cover the 220 most senior civil servants in Northern Ireland in the Assistant Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Permanent Secretary grades.

"At an overall cost increase of 3.5%, the award to senior civil servants is also slightly below recent awards for the rest of the civil service, but nevertheless allows me to reward senior civil servants for the vital work that they do in supporting Ministers in the Executive and in delivering public services," said Mr Wilson.

"It has also allowed me to make inroads into addressing some of the structural problems with the senior civil service pay system by dealing with poor pay progression."

For several years senior civil servants have received a combination of basis (a set wage) and performance related pay (bonuses).

This saw basic wages fall, while bonuses increased. The scheme is used UK wide, however, Northern Ireland will now be the only region not to implement the bonus system.

Mr Wilson acknowledged his decision would be unpopular with civil service chiefs, but said it does not mean their "commitment and dedication" is not valued.

"Rather it reflects the very difficult economic climate we find ourselves in where we must all make sacrifices for the greater good.

"This decision affects only senior civil servants but I intend raising with my Executive colleagues at an early opportunity the subject of bonus payments in the wider public sector," he added.

SDLP Finance Spokesperson Declan O'Loan MLA said the decision of Finance Minister Sammy Wilson not to pay bonuses to top civil servants this year marks a welcome move towards more rational pay structures.

However, he also said that the actual savings in this decision are "negligible" because "effectively the bonuses are being converted into a flat-rate increase".

"In the long run much more action needs to be taken, including salary levels of senior staff across the whole public service," he insisted.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 January 2022
£25m Backdated Pay Award Announced For Healthcare Workers
Health Minister Robin Swann has announced a further in-year pay award for healthcare workers totalling £25 million. The Minister said that the award was being made utilising funding already within the Department for Health budget. The funding will be used for: • An additional 1.5% non-consolidated pay uplift for AfC Bands 1-3.
04 January 2022
Road Users Urged To Be 'Responsible And Safe'
Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, has appealed to all road users be "responsible and safe", as the PSNI release provisional figures showing that 50 people died in road tragedies during 2021, which is 6 fewer people than last year.
01 December 2021
Health And Social Care Workers To Receive 3% Pay Increase
All Agenda for Change staff working in Health and Social Care are to receive a 3% pay increase, Health Minister Robin Swann has confirmed. The pay rise will be backdated to 01 April 2021. Mr Swann said: "I want to once again place on record my gratitude and admiration to all who work in our health and social care system.
01 December 2021
Lecturers At Queen's And Ulster University Begin Strike Action
Some lecturers and support staff at Queen's and Ulster universities are starting three days of strike action over pay, workloads and pensions. The action is being taken by the University College Union (UCU). A total of 58 universities across the UK are taking industrial actions until Friday, 03 December.
29 November 2021
Foyle Port Workers Take Strike Action In Pay Dispute
Some staff at L'Derry's Foyle Port have begun strike action is a dispute over a rejected demand for a 2.1% pay rise this year, following a pay freeze. Unite, the trade union representing the striking workers has warned that the action could "significantly affect port operations".