17/10/2018

NHS Workers To Ballot Over Strike Action

Health workers across Northern Ireland may be gearing up for industrial action, as calls for increased pay and better working conditions persist.

It was announced that UNISON, the health workers' union, will carry out a 'consultative ballot' of staff, with a view to conducting a further ballot that could ultimately lead to industrial action.

The move comes amid ongoing anger over pay and working conditions. It was recently revealed that some NHS staff are being offered food bank vouchers as they struggle to cope financially.

In a statement issued UNISON said they are calling for "an immediate 3% interim pay uplift and measure to lift band one workers to the Living Wage, in line with the other three UK regions".
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The statement continued:"But the powers that be are not listening and they continue to use the political stalemate as an excuse. They have been told that the workforce will not wait indefinitely and that your frustration and determination to break through the logjam is not going away. The system needs to hear YOUR voices."

The initial vote will give staff an opportunity to let decision makers know that they are prepared to formally ballot for industrial action if the stalemate continues.

"Health workers in Northern Ireland should not be treated as second class. UNISON members will be consulted during 3 weeks in November."

Arrangements for electronic and postal balloting are underway and it is expected that other unions will soon follow suit with plans for industrial action.

UNISON added: "Health workers in Northern Ireland cannot access funding for the Agenda for Change UK's wide Reform and Refresh framework. It is simply appalling that once again Northern Ireland is last on the list on the scale of pay bands. Scotland, England and Wales have already agreed specific pay reform terms and conditions deals."

(JG)

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