Health members in Northern Ireland to strike over lack of pay parity

Two-day action this week comes as members have yet to be made pay offer in absence of devolved government

UNISON health members in Northern Ireland will be taking strike action over two days this week, in protest at the continued lack of a pay offer for 2022/23.

The walk out, over the 48-hour period of Thursday 21 and Friday 22 September, will involve ambulance crews, nurses, health care assistants, pharmacists, radiographers, porters, admin and technical staff, and domestic assistants.

Payroll staff will strike for a shorter period, to ensure their co-workers receive their pay on time – a decision commended by their union colleagues.

The action is due to increasing frustration that NI health workers are falling behind their colleagues in England and Wales, who accepted an NHS pay offer from their employers in April. That offer included an extra lump sum for 2022/23 and a new offer of a 5% increase for 2023/24.

However in the absence of a devolved government in Northern Ireland, and without funding being made available by the secretary of state Chris Heaton-Harris, no offer has been made to health workers there. 

A UNISON NI statement said: “UNISON members in the health service are fed up with the current impasse in their just pursuit of pay parity.

“They have decided not to remain silent as politicians dither and delay a resolution of their political differences. They have resolved to continue demanding that the secretary of state use his powers of economic governance to include funding for the restoration of pay parity.

“NHS workers in England and Wales had their pay uplift from April this year. Why should health staff in Northern Ireland have to wait?

“No amount of finger pointing at local politicians justifies this appalling situation. UNISON members have no intention of staying silent or just putting up with it.”