§ Lady Hermon
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the strike action undertaken by the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
§ Mr. Pearson
Best available estimates indicate that just over 11,000 staff were absent without authority on 11 December 2003, equivalent to around 40 per cent. of the total non-industrial workforce. There was some disruption to a number of services including, for example, social security, child support, and driver and vehicle licensing and testing. On the whole, however, departments' contingency plans served to minimise inconvenience to the public.