Today (8.1.16), health minister Simon Hamilton announced the imposition of a non-consolidated 1% pay award for 2015/2016 for NHS staff in Northern Ireland.
In his statement, the minister said that his officials had sought to engage with the trade unions since January of last year.
UNISON refutes the claim that officials had sought a meeting to discuss the NHS pay award.
On the contrary, UNISON had repeatedly requested meetings with officials from the minister’s department during the last year to discuss NHS pay.
UNISON wrote to the minister in July 2015 seeking a meeting, and a meeting had been scheduled to take place.
However, with the minister’s political party’s position on vacating their posts during the crisis at Stormont in the autumn, the minister cancelled the scheduled meeting with trade unions.
It was only in December 2015 that the minister eventually met with the trade unions on the NHS pay award.
Anne Speed, UNISON Northern Ireland’s head of bargaining attended this meeting.
Speaking on the announcement of the non-consolidated pay award of 1% by the minister, Ms Speed stressed: “The fact that workers in the health service in Northern Ireland are now the poorest paid in the health service compared with their counterparts in the rest of the UK is intolerable.
“The minister’s imposition of a non-consolidated 1% pay award is an insult – all the more so when MLAs received a pay uplift of 11%.”