Workers protest over 'poverty pay'

Published Tuesday, 04 February 2014
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Public sector workers have staged a protest in Belfast and Londonderry as part of a UK wide call for increased pay.

Workers protest over 'poverty pay'
Public sector works have protested over pay levels. (© Pacemaker)

Trade unions NIPSA and Unison have said a near zero per cent increase in pay over the past four years, coupled with a rise in the cost of living and the need for staff to rely on government benefits, amounts workers receiving "poverty pay".

The unions have said that for three years their members, who work in education, housing, local government and further education, have received no pay increase until a 1% rise last year.

Later this month the employers are set to decide on a request from the unions for a £1 per hour increase for the workforce.

Tuesday's demonstrations took place at Belfast City Hall and at the Guildhall in Derry.

Alison Millar, NIPSA, deputy general secretary, said: "Our members demand that they receive a decent pay award after four years of almost a zero increase in their rates of pay.

"Members have seen the buying power of their pay stand still while the cost of housing, utility bills and food has increased to the point where many of our members are telling us they can no longer make ends meet.

"Many members are in receipt of tax credits and other benefits. So this government effectively has to subsidise their income - this cannot be right."

Anne Speed, Unison head of bargaining and representation said workers in Northern Ireland received, on average, 12% less than their counterparts in the rest of the UK.

She added: "Our low paid members working in these sectors will no longer tolerate poverty pay.

"The politicians of all persuasions need to take account of this stark reality and Northern Ireland representatives should stand up for the workers in this region and insist that they receive a decent pay increase."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Jim in Belfast wrote (355 days ago):
The comments on this article are a disgrace . These people are standing up for their rights and the only response is "well we are in trouble, so why shouldn't you be". Have an ounce of respect for yourselves and others. If every union and group in society stood up for their members as well as those yesterday, we all wouldn't be in the mire. No wonder the tory's can divide and conquer with comments like these. Shame on you all.
Sam1690 in Ballysillan wrote (356 days ago):
Both my parent's are public sector workers, they both earn more per hour than my subordinates in work. I think those protesting today should look at the private sector jobs available, and the money on offer, then get back to their work.
andrew in Waringstown wrote (356 days ago):
When are these people going to start living in the real world? They won't be complaining in march when their managers have them working at the weekend on double time just so the budget for their respective departments is spent before the end of the tax year!
dopey in belfast wrote (356 days ago):
Agree with the unions about low paid workers but I disagree strongly with unions using plush offices furnished with computers printers and phones within government buildings such as the Housing Executive waging their campaign against their own employers,,the Government,,
Ian in Belfast wrote (356 days ago):
Add to these grievances the non payment, on spurious grounds, of a contractually obliged pay increment due to Education and Library Board workers for 2013/14 by the Department of Education; yet teachers got their increment as a "special case". Shame on a Sinn Fein Education Minister enforcing employment apartheid
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