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Sinn Féin accuses NIO of attempting to deceive public over pay offer to Civil Servants

3 August, 2004

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty has accused the NIO of attempting to deceive the public into believing that it has made a reasonable pay offer to striking Civil Servants when in reality it has just rehashed its previous unrealistic offer in a new format.

Mr Doherty said:

"The fact that the NIO communicated its so-called new pay offer to the media before it had relayed it to NIPSA is a clear sign that this is not a genuine attempt to reach a fair and equitable resolution to the dispute.

"However, when the fog of spin is cleared away, it is obvious that there is nothing new in this offer. Instead of attempting to bring an equitable resolution to the long running dispute the NIO is attempting to deceive the public.

"Senior Civil Service Managers have been awarded pay rises of between 4-9% over consecutive years, yet ordinary Civil Service workers are being expected to accept having their pay frozen over the past two years and little prospect of any improvement over the next few years.

"I believe that this NIO ploy will lead to a further escalation in industrial action and increased disruption to a wide range of public services and to the community as a whole.

"To date, representations from local parties have been ignored. All local parties are equally angry about the mishandling of this issue by the NIO, British direct rule Ministers and senior civil service management. A cross party showdown with British Secretary of State Paul Murphy is long overdue. Only by presenting a united front can we embarrass Paul Murphy and the NIO into backing down from its totally unreasonable stance towards civil service workers." ENDS

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