Northern Ireland news

Unison and Nipsa health staff set date for industrial action

Action short of strike involves employees working only their contracted hours
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Health staff in two Northern Ireland trade unions have announced that industrial action will begin on December 5.

Members of Unison and Nipsa announced the action as part of a dispute over pay.

Unison members will take action short of strike on December 5 before a one-day strike on December 12.

Nipsa members will begin indefinite action short of strike on December 5.

Action short of strike involves employees working only their contracted hours.

Anne Speed, head of bargaining and representation for Unison Northern Ireland, said: “Members are frustrated and angry that once again they are being left behind and are now the lowest paid part of the UK NHS workforce.

“They have seen and heard the remarks of the Secretary of State (Chris Heaton-Harris) as he announced his setting of the financial budget for Northern Ireland.

“They noted that while admonishing NI politicians for failing to restore the executive and the assembly, he had nothing to say to the thousands of health workers awaiting a pay rise since last April.”

Nipsa deputy secretary general Padraig Mulholland said the health service had reached a “tipping point”.

He told the BBC: “What may appear to be sort of the norm in other jobs is not the norm in the health service, and it’s an extraordinary state of affairs where people can’t even eat their lunch.”

Last week the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced that its members in Northern Ireland will join a strike on December 15 and 20.

In July an independent pay review body recommended that healthcare workers should receive a rise of £1,400, but staff in Northern Ireland have not received the increase.

Northern Ireland news