24 hour walk-out to take place as health workers in Northern Ireland take to the picket lines again

Ambulance workers belonging to Unison on strike.
The union says Ministers must drop their "resistance" to engage with health trade unions on pay. Credit: PA Images

UNISON's health members will once more take to the picket lines as they take part in a 24 hour walkout later this month.

They say that UK government Ministers must drop their "resistance" to engage with health trade unions on pay.

They are calling for Northern Ireland's Secretary of State to include in his proposed budget, provision for retrospective adjustment on the 2022 below inflation PRB recommendation.

This is the message they plan to deliver with their walk-out on Thursday 26th January.

Following a meeting of all UNISON senior lay reps across all Health Trusts, Anne Speed Head of Bargaining at UNISON said: "Not a single ambulance or NHS worker wants to be taking action.

"The Westminster government began talking to unions about pay just two weeks ago, months after unions first asked ministers to engage.

"They know strikes won’t be called off until health workers’ wages are boosted this year and talks held to negotiate the next rise due in April. But there’s been no movement since the last strike and ministers seem to be digging in.

"The NHS is in a terrible state.  And nowhere is worse than in Northern Ireland. This dispute is not just about pay but about staffing too. With too few health workers, the HSC can no longer deliver safe nor maintain quality patient care.

"Ambulance workers want to be able to respond promptly when people call 999. But they can’t. Long delays before ambulances arrive, queues of emergency vehicles outside A&Es and patients stuck on trolleys in hospital corridors for hours has become the new normal. 

"HSC leaders and employers here can see the damage the dispute and the Westminister government’s failure to start proper pay talks is causing.

"They must change gear, find the funds to invest in the workforce and improve wages to benefit staff, the NHS and patients too. 

"While health staff across the North will be on picket lines on Thursday 26th January our Secretary of State will be in the USA talking about trade.

"He should be here talking about the crisis in our health service. He should be advocating for the interests of the people he holds accountability for. And he is not the only one who should be putting  a hard  shoulder the crisis wheel.

"All elected politicians of every party should come together now and call for real engagement on pay  and funding to take us through this. They know where the UK treasury door is. We need them to be clearly heard knocking on it."

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