Northern Ireland pay update: formal offer requested 'without delay'

Statement from joint Northern Ireland Trade Union group seeks at least parity with England offer

Published: 23 March 2023 Northern Ireland

The joint Northern Ireland Trade Union group in Health have agreed an update regarding the recent pay offer made to NHS England trade unions.

A revised offer was made to Staff Council trade unions by Secretary of State for Health, Steve Barclay. This was for England only, however assurances were given to NHS Staff Council trade union side that this offer would be funded by new money and, as such, Barnett consequentials would follow for the Devolved Administrations.

The offer is for settlement of the current dispute over 2022/23 pay and an additional offer for year 2023/24. Read the detail of the complete England offer here.

Health is a devolved matter for Northern Ireland. This means that the finance coming from HM Treasury will be placed within the Northern Ireland budget for the Assembly. The Assembly then decides how it is spent.

Pay parity for Northern Ireland

Health trade unions in Northern Ireland have always argued that money allocated for pay should be at least the same as the England-only deal. This issue of pay parity was central to the last pay dispute in 2019/2020.

The update from the Northern Ireland Trade Union group in Health states: "What that now means is Regional Health Joint Secretaries are, in the absence of a minister and an executive, seeking direct engagement with the Department of Health and The Northern Ireland office. We are determined to ensure that our members are not, yet again, left behind. Those requests are being actioned as we write and meetings are being arranged.

"In order to allow us to enter into a similar process (see below) Northern Ireland must receive a formal offer. This must be brought to our bargaining table without delay. We will through your local representative structure keep you up to date with developments."

Time scale

The process in England is as follows:

  • Trade unions will all ballot their members on the deal with outcomes expected by the end of April;
  • Government will then move to implement if accepted by the Membership;
  • Payroll services in England will seek to make payment probably no sooner than the June pay cycle;
  • All payments would be made or initiated at the same time.

Image: Nawadoln/iStock/Getty Images Plus