Rule changes mean Sinn Fein forced into cutting pay for junior staff at Stormont…

So here’s a thing. Looks like the staff who work for Sinn Fein at Stormont are going to take a pay cut after rule changes forced their hand…

Until now, all Sinn Féin staff and MLAs are understood to have taken home what the party refers to as an average wage.
That is believed to be in the region of £26,000 per year.
However, Stormont’s Independent Financial Review Panel has changed the rules.
Three new grades have been introduced for Stormont staff, starting at £16,000, £19,750 and £22,750.

The report also cites some disgruntlement at the disparity between pay rates in Leinster House and Stormont.

  • Granni Trixie

    Although the pay changes will impact on Sf because of their unique system of paying employees and MLAs my understanding is that the changes will impact on all parties in that Eg people who are re-employed this time round will end up with lower wages than previously.

    Also, didn’t I read that rumblings of dissatisfaction over SF pay in the South were connected to politicans and employees complaining that their children were disadvantaged when it came to Income related education grants given that “officially” SF people have a certain income yet take home pay is less.

  • Gopher

    The loss of three incomes means there is less to distribute and in socialist dream machines the centre always has to get its cut first.

  • Brendan Heading

    There are a lot of holes and inconsistencies in the BBC report.

    First, it does not make clear the difference between gross and net pay. Phil Flanagan MLA claimed that he only “kept” £2000 out of his assembly pay. That equates to £24,000 per year, which, allowing for employee pension contributions, works out at around £32,000 per year gross salary.

    Also, the article does not make it clear which employees fall within the new rules. Do the rules apply to staff paid out of office costs allowance; or are they staff members employed directly by the Assembly Commission on behalf of the parties and therefore part of the assembly’s pension scheme ? Who are the “handful of key staff” to whom the changes do not apply, and why do they not apply ?

  • Msiegnaro

    Is my understanding correct in that parties now have less say in who they can choose as their backroom staff? For example their MLA assistants – I may have picked this up incorrectly so I am happy to be corrected.

  • Msiegnaro

    Can MLAs employ family members as their assistants?

  • Brendan Heading

    Reading between the lines, it sounds like there was a practice of parties hiring people directly using a fund for this purpose; this has now been stopped, and instead party workers have to be hired through the Assembly. Since the Assembly is a large and professionally organised workplace, equal opportunities compliance is a lot more strict and there now has to be an open application process and clearly defined salary bands.

    That’s just a guess though.

  • Msiegnaro

    I am no fan of SF, however it must make more sense for an assistant to an MLA to be favourable towards that party?

  • Brendan Heading

    It does, and I’m sure there are ways to deal with this while complying with the law. Nonetheless, the application process has to at least be transparent.

  • Msiegnaro

    How would it work for example in Mid Ulster when Ian McCrea has lost his seat, could his backroom team not be moved to assist the new MLA as they would have the experience?

  • Granni Trixie

    Sorry, I have no idea.

  • Brendan Heading

    Yes, of course they could, because that existing backroom team would be best qualified to take on the job.

  • NMS

    In Ireland, all Parliamentary staff are paid directly by the Houses of the Oireachtas. How an employee decides to spend his/her salary is purely them a personal matter. After an election if your particular Deputy retires or loses their seat, then you are re-deployed within the party.

    The salary levels for Deputies make it financial madness for anyone with a half-decent job to consider it. The quality of public rep is getting poorer election after election.

  • Msiegnaro

    What is a deputy?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Yes, but it needs to be declared on the register of interests.

  • Kevin Breslin

    £26,000 per year isn’t an average wage, these days.

    Maybe all the staff could take home an average £19,500 from lumping their salaries together and then £4,500 each from the party’s excess salary bank as a top-up.

  • Sharpie

    People not shot by either Eric Clapton, or Bob Marley (or elected members of the Irish Dáil – Chamber of Deputies)

  • Declan Doyle

    Teachta Dala

  • Declan Doyle

    Sinn Fein announced at their Ard Fheis that their system of pay is to be reviewed. Even though each employee takes home the average industrial wage, when they apply for loans or mortgages etc. they are assessed on their full income which is throwing up issues obviously. The sensible thing to do is to scrap the rule altogether.

  • Granni Trixie

    But from SF POV (I imagine) that would result in a significant decrease in income for running the party as a whole.

  • WindowLean

    WUM!!

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Party membership is a desired criterion to gain employment by any political party not just SF.

  • Declan Doyle

    SF POV ?

  • Msiegnaro

    Exactly so there can’t be a situation in the future of Joe Bloggs with no part affiliations applying for and getting a role as an MLA assistant with any MLA associated to a party?

  • Jollyraj

    Maybe they resist that because the feel the tradeoff – ie. Higher salary attracts more talented people, but less blind loyalty – isn’t worth it for their business model.

  • chrisjones2

    But that is discrimination. These are posts paid for by public money not party hacks

  • chrisjones2

    They can apply but I think when he lost his job so did they

  • chrisjones2

    Why have we been paying £26k for jobs if the correct wage for them was around £19k?

  • jm

    Had to look that up. Now going to work it into texts with the kids yolo

  • Msiegnaro

    I do feel sorry for the support staff, it’s unfair on them.

  • Granni Trixie

    The rationale (again, I can only imagine) for”industrial wage” is:
    (A) it brings money into SF coffers
    (B) it is a USP – namely that people are so committed to SF that they forgoe the wage they are entitled to.
    And Incase POV is unclear it means point of view. .

  • Granni Trixie

    Agreed. In theory it is good practice that party membership is not a requirement for employment with a party but in practice I wonder how that would work?

  • Declan Doyle

    From the year dot when SF had just one or two elected reps the party policy was that a large chunk of cash went to further the party’s cause. As the party has grown, so too has that wad of cash. As far as it seems, elected shinners donate part of their salary to the party and those monies are used to recruit staff and open second offices in the constituencies concerned. This applies to those who are elected councilors also. Councillors donate a slice of their wage to the local party to fight upcoming general elections. It seems sound. Simply because no party is monitored by the media as closely as SF, if there was some financial amiss outside their claims; we would surely have heard of it by now.