Health Minister Robin Swann welcomes ballot on pay offer for Northern Ireland health workers

A ballot of health service workers on a new pay deal has been welcomed by Minister Robin Swann. Under the proposed settlement, thousands of health workers will have pay parity restored on their pay bands and will receive an unconsolidated lump sum for all staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions. This means workers will receive a consolidated pay uplift of 5% and a non-consolidated (pro-rata) payment of £1,505. The offer will be backdated to April 2023. Unison said health workers have had to contend with rising prices and the emergence of a cost-of-living crisis. In a statement, it said: “The absence of devolved Government and the decision of the Secretary of State to withhold funding deeply frustrated workers. “Six days of strike action and 15 months of working to rule by health workers have finally yielded a result.” However, Unison said the restoration of pay parity with England on pay bands still leaves Northern Ireland health workers behind Scotland and Wales. It said closing the gap will be a key trade union goal in the 2024-2025 pay round. The health minister said the ballot was a “positive step”. Mr Swann said: “I said on taking office that my first priority was to get pay settlements over the line for staff. “This is a positive step in that direction and I commend the constructive negotiations that have taken place with trade unions representing Agenda for Change staff. “The unions will now ballot their members and I want them to be given the time and space for this to happen. “Staff are the backbone of health and social care services and deserve to be properly rewarded for their work. “Staff pay settlements for 2023/24 are long overdue, having been delayed by political and budgetary instability. “They will be backdated to April 2023.” The lowest pay values for Band 1 and Band 2 will also be removed.

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