In response to your editorial ‘Urgent Clarification is needed on details of NI Water deal’ printed on Friday 22 May 2015, DRD have set out the details below.
The pay agreement reached by NIW is consistent with Executive policy. The policy recognises that pay deals can take account of measures involving modernisation and resilience. Any pay policy that did not allow this would be too inflexible, as it would remove the incentive to improve ways of working.
That is the basis of the NIW deal.
The element of the increases above 1 per cent are part of productivity and modernisation initiatives which will deliver overall operational efficiencies for the company, as well as providing additional resilience for out of hours operational cover.
The costs over 2014/15 and 2015/16 associated with the 0.95 per cent benefits payments total £960 000, whilst the resultant benefits over the same two year period total £3.79m. In other words, the Company will make more in savings of £2.83m over the period covered by the agreement.
The pay agreement also secures the commitment of the Water Group of Trade Unions (WGTU) to work positively, actively and jointly with NI Water to make further progress on the modernisation of working practices within the company.
Changes to the NI Water Pension Scheme came into effect on 1 April 2015, in line with the principles set out in the wider reform of public sector pensions. The transitional pension protection arrangements are similar to those which applied to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme.
The pay agreement will facilitate the full implementation of new severance arrangements which will see the removal of entitlement to augmentation of pensionable service for employees between 55 and 60 going forward, again in line with the requirements of public sector pension reform.
Both the pay agreement and the changes to the NI Water Pension Scheme were approved through the Department of Finance and Personnel.
Danny Kennedy, Regional Development Minister