Northern Ireland civil servants receive up to £14,000 in pay settlements

Up to 16,000 civil servants in Northern Ireland are being offered payments of up to £14,000 in owed back pay and equal pay settlements.

The government staff, who are mainly lower-grade female workers, have started receiving e-mails over the past few days outlining their individual payments.

The payments are costing the Northern Ireland Assembly about £150m, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

Sammy Wilson, the finance minister, is making the payments despite the looming public sector spending squeeze, but warned against opening a “Pandora’s box” by offering the payments to retired and seconded civil servants.

The payments result from a settlement reached following negotiations with the main civil service union, the Northern Ireland Public Sector Alliance (Nipsa).

Around 95% of balloted members backed the offer earlier this year, in a package which means pay rates for some of the least well-off will rise by nearly 30%.

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