Northern Ireland news

Latest wave of strike action by NI healthcare workers to take place next week

The latest wave of strike action by health care workers is set to take place next week. Picture by Mark Marlow

THE latest wave of strike action by health care workers in Northern Ireland is set to take place next week.

Two days of action are planned for January 8 and 10, as the dispute over staffing and pay continues.

The move comes after last month's unprecedented strikes and work-to-rule across the north's heath care trusts, causing thousands of surgeries and appointments to be cancelled.

Around 9,000 members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) were involved in December's action - the first in its 103-year history - as well as other unions including Unison and Unite.

Plans are being compiled by unions for next week's action, but trusts have not yet released details of how it will impact services.

Unison, the biggest healthcare union, last night said the main strike action will take place on Friday.

Regional secretary Patricia McKeown said members will continue to work-to-rule until January 31, with "solidarity action on January 8 and the main strike day on the 10th".

She said union members were "fed up being held to ransom".

"It is shameful," she said.

"We are being used as leverage, which is one thing we said we did not want to happen and it has.

Department of Health officials received correspondence from the RCN on Christmas Eve about walkouts on January 8 and 10.

A fresh 3.1 per cent pay offer was rejected by unions last month.

They are demanding around four per cent for pay parity.

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