Archive article from The Socialist Issue 328
Civil Servants Strike Against Imposed Pay Deal
ON 11 DECEMBER there was a very successful one-day strike organised by the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA).
This was in protest against the derisory pay deal imposed by central government - a 0% cost of living rise. When increased National Insurance payments and inflation are taken into account, it amounts to a pay cut.
About 90% of the union's 24,000 members in the civil service were out on strike, affecting offices all over Northern Ireland.
Socialist Party members on the NIPSA civil service executive argued for pickets on all workplaces, which took place. They also argued for another executive meeting before the strike to set further strike dates, as well as the planned work to rule and overtime ban. This was defeated, although the executive will meet again in January.
This strike was important because it took place amongst the civil service section of NIPSA, where the right-wing has most support. It has given a boost to the Time for Change platform within the union, particularly as the union executive elections take place soon.
Socialist Party member and NIPSA president Carmel Gates and other union activists organised a meeting point for strikers in the centre of Belfast. 300 strikers marched from there to the 500-strong strike rally, where Carmel spoke. 40 copies of the socialist's sister paper The Socialist Voice were sold.
Carmel Gates toured at least 20 picket lines, accompanied by six firefighters, including Socialist Party member Jim Barbour.
Socialist Party member, Paul Dale organised the strike in Enniskillen and publicised a strikers' lunchtime meeting, which 25 attended and where 20 bought The Socialist Voice.
For a full analysis of the recent NI Assembly elections, see the CWI website: www.socialistworld.net