August 25th: In the absence of a pay offer from the Health Minister, Unite is balloting thousands of health workers across Northern Ireland on possible strike action in the Autumn.
The action is coordinated with the response of Unite in England and Wales where the union is also balloting members for industrial action over the insulting pay offers that have been imposed on healthcare workers. Unite says that it will be joining other health unions in making a major stand on pay.
The union estimates that the 78,000 workers in Health and Social Care (HSCNI) have seen their pay fall by up to 15 per cent in real terms since 2010.
Unite’s Regional Organiser for Health Kevin McAdam said:
“Health care workers pay has been devastated by government policy. In England and Wales, hard working health professionals has been treated with contempt. Here in Northern Ireland, Minister Poots has failed to make our members a pay offer even after the pay review body report in April.
“The Minister seems to want to play politics with our members’ pay and the health of Northern Ireland justifying his inactivity on the basis of the Executive log-jam over welfare reform.
“Our members now have an opportunity to vote in favour of industrial action and send a strong message that the Minister needs to take action on pay.
“We are confident of a positive result from our members. But we also wish to reassure the public that any industrial action will be carefully calibrated to balance the need for action on our members shrinking pay packets with their commitment to patient care as health professionals”, Kevin McAdam concluded.