Health Unions Reject £28m Pay Offer

Negotiations between trade unions and the Department of Health over the ongoing industrial action have ended without agreement.

Health workers across Northern Ireland have joined actions over pay and staffing levels.

Talks were held at Stormont yesterday, 05 December, with the four trade unions and the Department of Health, however a deal has not been reached.

A new pay offer involving an additional £28 million was tabled by the Department, with unions asked to suspend industrial action.

Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said it was the highest offer available in the absence of a ministerial executive.

"We have made a sizeable new offer. In the absence of Ministers, this is the furthest I am able to go. It is therefore the final offer for this year."
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Despite indications from NI Secretary of State Julian Smith that the offer was to be welcomed, unions say it falls short of staff requirements.

Mr Smith tweeted: "Following positive discussions with the unions today, I welcome the improved offer from the Department of Health - and hope it will be carefully considered by the unions."

A joint statement from the unions said: "Latest pay offer is insufficient. Industrial action continues and joint planned strike action remains in place for December 18th."

Anne Speed from Unison said after the talks: "Despite the tweet from the Secretary of State earlier this evening, in the middle of discussions before the meeting concluded, our positions is as follows..

"The Department has presented a new position, trade unions have jointly agreed this remains insufficient and falls short of our member's requirements and mandate that they have given us.

"Industrial action continues."


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