12/11/2019

NI Health Workers Vote To Strike

Members of Northern Ireland's largest health workers' union have voted in support of strike action.

Trade union Unison said its ballot focused mainly on safe staffing levels and pay parity, as health workers in Northern Ireland are paid less than their colleagues in Britain.

The absence of both has been a key factor in waiting lists and waiting times reaching crisis levels for patients across Northern Ireland, according to the union.

Around 25,000 healthcare workers across the region are represented by union, including social care staff and support services. A total of 92% of staff who responded to the ballot voted for industrial action, with the first round due to take place before the end of this month.
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Nurses and paramedics, senior nursing staff, healthcare assistants, administrative workers, porters and cleaners in Northern Ireland earn lower than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales. The deficit faced by local nurses and paramedics in their annual pay rate is at almost £1,500.

Unison Northern Ireland regional secretary Patricia McKeown said: "Health workers don't take industrial action lightly but they've been pushed to the brink.

"Responsibility for averting this situation lies with the Department of Health, the head of the Northern Ireland civil service and the Department of Finance.

"They must access the funding necessary to resolve the pay problem and start addressing safe staffing levels as a matter of extreme urgency."



(JG/CM)

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