Nurses in north 'paid less' than in Britain
NURSES in the north are paid "less than anywhere in the UK", the Northern Ireland director of the Royal College of Nursing has said.
Speaking at her union's conference in Liverpool, Janice Smyth called on the British government to end years of below inflation pay rises.
She said clarity around pay was also needed.
"Nurses in Northern Ireland have had no decision this year, about even the 1% (recommended pay rise)," she said.
"It is devastating. Nurses feel nobody is listening to them, they don't have enough staff to look after their patients, that their own health and wellbeing is being affected and they can't pay their bills.
"It is a dire situation and they have had enough. They want something done about it."
A consultative ballot of Royal College of Nursing members showed that a majority were in favour of strike action - but the turnout was too low for a formal ballot to be held.
The union has now warned the government it will launch a formal ballot on strike action this year unless the 1% pay cap is lifted.
"It is the least that members will accept. If the governments across the four countries don't do something about nurses pay it is inevitable our members will be balloted later this year," Ms Smyth later told the BBC.