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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 May, 2005, 05:41 GMT 06:41 UK
Parties 'must commit to services'
Water running from a tap
Nipsa wants politicians to fight the introduction of water charges
Parties must commit themselves on major issues of public policy in Northern Ireland, a trade union has urged.

Nipsa called for candidates to clarify their positions on key issues including education cuts, water charges and public service funding.

It said parties should outline their policies on parity for public servants' wages with those in the rest of the UK and protection of their pension rights.

General Secretary John Corey said the union was not a party political group.

He said the union was not endorsing any individual candidates for election.

"However, it is reasonable for our 42,000 members and their families to know where candidates stand on the current key issues of concern to all public servants in Northern Ireland," he added.

"We hope that politicians elected will make their voices heard in defence of Northern Ireland's public services and public servants."

The union outlined six areas in which it wants politicians to make pledges:

  • support the campaign to stop education cuts and staff redundancies and to put pressure on direct rule education minister Barry Gardiner to restore funding;

  • oppose the introduction of water charges and "press the government to fund the infrastructure deficit from general taxation";

  • oppose the "extensive use of Private Finance Initiatives to fund public services which should be provided by accountable public servants";

  • prevent the use of the Review of Public Administration structures in Northern Ireland "as a crude cost-cutting exercise and secure guarantees for the future of public servants in the new structures";

  • ensure that all civil and public service staff should have parity of pay with other public servants in the UK;

  • support the "right of all public servants to receive a fair Public Service Pension and not be forced to work until the age of 65".




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