May 2011 Assembly Elections

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05 April 2011

The General Council has decided to put a series of questions to all the candidates in the Assembly elections on a range of issues which impact upon the interests of NIPSA members, their families and the community. The responses to the questions will be posted on the NIPSA website. Attached is a copy of the questions for your information.

We are also asking members to put these questions to candidates especially during the process of canvassing on the doorstep.

Please forward the attached letter to NIPSA members along with the list of questions. The letter is asking members to raise the questions with all candidates in their constituencies.

2011 MAY ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

As a result of the roll out by the NI Executive of the UK Government’s austerity budget of June 2010 and its 4 year Comprehensive Spending plans announced towards the end of 2010 NIPSA members and their families as well as the communities in which they live will be under attack for the foreseeable future.

The forthcoming Assembly and local government elections this May provides an opportunity for NIPSA members to raise with all the candidates in these elections the issues which are of major concern to both public servants, workers in the community/voluntary sectors and the public generally.

While the NI Executive has limited powers to raise finance independently from Westminster there is still a wide range of powers which they can exercise and it is essential that they do so in a way which does not impact in a negative way on ordinary people in our society.

NIPSA has prepared a number of questions to which it will be asking all candidates in these elections to respond.  The questions which cover a range of issues of great importance to NIPSA members are attached for your information.

I would ask that individual members also raise these questions with all candidates in their constituencies.

NIPSA

NIPSA, Northern Ireland’s largest public service trade union wishes to put a number of questions relating to the economy and public services in Northern Ireland to all candidates and parties standing in both the elections in May to the NI Assembly and local government.

We are concerned that the UK Government’s austerity programme will severely damage the economic, social and community infrastructure in Northern Ireland by undermining growth in jobs, by attacking the welfare state and by reducing vital public services to the public.  We are encouraging all candidates to provide answers to the questions listed below. Details of all answers will be circulated for information and consideration to over 45,000 NIPSA members.

Public Finances

Do you agree that the UK Government should invest in the necessary resources to collect the estimated £120bn of taxes that are lost to the public purse each year through a combination of uncollected taxes, tax evasion and tax avoidance?

If so, would you agree to join in an active campaign to force the UK Government to retrieve these monies?

Welfare State

Are you in favour of the UK Government’s plans to attack welfare benefits including the planned reductions in housing benefits, disability allowances?

What active steps are you prepared to take to campaign against this attack on the welfare state?

Public Spending Cuts

What is your attitude to the cuts in public spending brought about by the roll out of the UK Government’s June 2010 Budget and 4 year Comprehensive Spending Plan in Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Executive?

Will you support the campaigns to oppose cuts to public services?

Will you oppose job losses in the public sector and support the trade unions and their members in their struggle to protect these jobs?

Privatisation

Are you opposed to the privatisation of public services and functions?

Water Charges

Do you support or oppose the introduction of separate household water charges in Northern Ireland?

Employment Rights Legislation

Do you oppose any further erosion of employment rights and will you vote in the NI Assembly against any extension of the UK Government’s plans to dilute employment protection rights?

Trade Union Legislation

Although trade union legislation in Northern Ireland reflects the equivalent provisions in Great Britain the NI Assembly does have the power to vary these provisions as this matter is devolved to the NI Assembly.  Would you support a repeal of the anti trade union legislation introduced by successive UK Government’s including the unacceptable provisions governing the right of employees and their trade unions to take industrial action?

Public Sector Pay

Are you in favour of the UK Government’s two year pay freeze for all public sector workers?

Do you support the application by the NI Executive of the two year pay freeze to staff working in the NI Civil Service and other public bodies where pay is linked to the NI Civil Service?

Public Sector Pensions

Will you support the trade unions campaigns of opposition to increased pension contributions planned by the UK Government and applicable to Northern Ireland?

Pension Age

Are you in favour of the UK Government’s plans to advance the increase in the age at which citizens qualify for a state pension?

Brian Campfield

General Secretary

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