Healthcare news

Unison ballots member on industrial action

Unison is to ballot its members today. Healthcare workers, who make up the majority of the trade union, staged a protest outside the Mater hospital in Belfast over pay five years ago as part of series of actions across the north.

THE biggest trade union representing healthcare workers in Northern Ireland will today begin a ballot of its members on industrial action over a pay dispute.

Unison has confirmed the three-week ballot will be on action "short of strike".

Almost two-thirds of its 40,000 members work in the health sector.

Unison leaders have been holding talks with the Department of Health for eight months over "closing the pay gap" with their NHS counterparts in Britain.

Today's action coincides with a separate ballot by the Royal College of Nursing but which includes strike action.

Unison's Anne Speed said: "We are recommending that our members vote yes in this ballot for industrial action. Why should workers in Glasgow, Birmingham or Cardiff be valued more than workers in Belfast, Newry or Ballymena?

"While other parts of the NHS have been awarded three-year pay deals in a collective agreement which is supposed to cover all four health services, Northern Ireland health workers have only had a one-year award imposed on them for 2018."

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