15/09/2011

DUP Slams Strikes Proposal

A prominent member of the DUP has slammed a major union's agreement to possible strike action over public sector pension reductions.

DUP vice-chairman of the Health Committee, Jim Wells, challenged major teachers and health workers union Unison to draw back from their threat of strike action, after it backed suggestions by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to engage in "a day of action" if pension cuts went ahead.

Mr Wells said strike action would leave health workers out of pocket and not help improve outcomes for patients.

"It is deeply unfortunate that some trade union representatives seem more intent on having strike action rather than working to reach a solution to their concerns. Such a response and strategy is neither productive for health workers nor the patients who use our hospitals.

"I appeal to Unison members, currently being balloted about strike action, to step back from the brink and question how such action will benefit nursing staff."

Mr Wells added that while Unison management "encouraged" strike action, grassroots members should recognise they will be left out of pocket for days lost while on strike yet the "pay for union managers will keep rolling".

Mr Well's comments come as General Secretary of the United Kingdom's TUC, Brendan Barber, announced during this week's union conference in London that unions were prepared to undertake "co-ordinated" strike action over reductions to public sector pensions.

Mr Barber said on Wednesday he was "fully committed to exhausting every possible negotiating opportunity". However, he added that he knew how difficult it is for low paid workers, already hit with an "unjust pay freeze" and "fearful for their jobs", to face the loss of income when on strike.

"But if talks cannot make a breakthrough then unions are right and fully justified to plan for action," he said.

(DW/GK)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 January 2022
Health Minister Confirms Extension To Use Of Cystic Fibrosis Treatment
Health Minister Robin Swann has announced that Kaftrio will be made available to suitable patients aged six years and older in Northern Ireland for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF).
14 December 2021
Health Minister Praises 'Herculean Efforts' To Deliver NI Vaccine Programme
NI's Health Minister, Robin Swann, has praised the "Herculean efforts" being made to further ramp up the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine boosters. Anyone aged 30 and over who is at least three months from their second dose is now eligible to attend a Trust walk-in vaccination hub.
10 December 2021
Belfast City Makes 'Significant Progress' Despite Impact Of Pandemic
Belfast has continued to make "significant progress in a range of priority areas for the city" despite the wide-ranging impacts of Covid-19. The newly published Statement of Progress report outlines progress over a two-year period towards long-term ambitions that were first published in 2017 in the Belfast Agenda, the city's community plan.
09 December 2021
Health Minister Marks Anniversary Of First Vaccine Delivered In NI
The first anniversary of the delivery of the first Covid-19 vaccine in Northern Ireland has been marked by Health Minister Robin Swann. Marking the milestone, Minister Swann, said: "A year ago today Sister Joanna Hogg made history when she received her vaccine in the Royal Victoria Hospital vaccination centre and 12 months on, almost 1.
03 December 2021
90% Of Adults Have Received At Least One Covid-19 Vaccination
Nine out of 10 adults in Northern Ireland have received at least one Covid-19 vaccination, according to the Department of Health. A total of 3,068,005 jabs have been delivered since the vaccination programme began just under a year ago. The number of booster jabs has also passed the 400,000 mark.