‘Paltry and insulting’ pay rise ‘delayed’ by Stormont impasse

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Even a “paltry and insulting” proposed pay rise for officers in Northern Ireland cannot be agreed because of the Stormont impasse, the Police Federation said.

An award equating to less than 1% once cost of living increases are included was hoped to be in Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) members’ pay packets by the end of this month.

Federation chairman Mark Lindsay said: “There is frustration and anger here.”

A landmark court judgment rejecting the Arc 21 incinerator planning permission in Co Antrim because it had been unlawfully authorised has left civil servants unable to make major decisions in the absence of ministerial oversight.

Mr Lindsay said: “Officers are struggling financially, police pay has been hit by 18.5% over the last eight years.

“It is a delay in awarding what has been recommended by an independent body.”

He said officers’ pay awards were tied to that in England and Wales.

Members had sought a 3.4% rise. The Home Office decided to award a 2% increase, below the level recommended by independent advisers, Mr Lindsay said.

He said a bonus from a previous year had run out and the actual rise, when compared to the increased cost of living, would be worth less than 1%.

Stormont’s Justice Department is yet to implement the deal.

Mr Lindsay said: “An increase should be in their pay packets at the end of September but it is not going to appear.”

Probationary constables earn £23,124, rising to £38,382 after seven years of service. The Northern Ireland Transitional Allowance of £3,225 is also payable.

Mr Lindsay said his members felt the value placed on officers was being eroded.

“These are people being assaulted at work, with huge amounts of stress, working shifts, doing these jobs expected of us but we cannot have a decision made on a paltry and insulting pay rise.

“What is the point in having an independent pay review body whenever they are ignored? It undermines the whole process.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman said: “No decision has been taken on a pay award for 2018/19 for police officers in Northern Ireland.

“Public sector pay is a devolved matter that is determined locally and pay policy has yet to be set for 2018/19. 

“This is a matter the Department of Finance is currently considering, and once it is set, it is for Departments and other public sector employers to bring pay proposals forward to be considered for approval as and when appropriate.

“We fully appreciate the service and dedication of all police officers and we will continue to work closely with their representative bodies in the interim.”

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