Work-to-rule to continue while union organises further one-day stoppages
Unite lead officer in Northern Ireland for the health sector, Kevin McAdam expressed his disappointment with Minister Jim Wells’ statement that there would be no pay rise for health care workers under the 2014-15 Health Budget.
“The Minister’s miserly offer fails to honour the one per cent pay increase recommendation made by the Independent Pay review Body and completely ignores the need to address the issue of poverty pay in the health sector. The cost of living increase was recommended by an independent Pay Review Body, not brought forward by our union, indeed it is below what is warranted by inflation.
“Minister Well’s decision stands in contrast to that of regional authorities in Wales and Scotland which have been able to avert industrial action in their NHS through meeting the Pay Body’s recommendations within their budgets. There can be no excuse for this failure by Minister Wells in Northern Ireland.
“I am concerned by the potential scale and impact of the raft of contingency proposals which were also announced which would close minor injuries units, beds and amalgamate wards and clinics across Northern Ireland resulting in a further dislocation of health services.
“We are also deeply troubled by the Minister’s attempt to confuse the one per cent cost of living increase with the health staff annual increments. Increments reflect professional development of staff and are unrelated to annualised cost of living increases. In making this connection he is following the policy of the ConDem government in Westminster which is seeking to erode the principal of the annual increment.
“Unite will continue our ‘work-to-rule’ action and bring forward plans for further stoppages across the NHS in Northern Ireland. We hope that other unions representing workers in the Health Sector will now join with Unite and GMB to build mass opposition to the Minister’s miserly approach to health workers pay”, Mr McAdam concluded.