Paediatric nurses in Antrim Area Hospital vote ‘yes’ for industrial action

Unprecedented turn out sees staff back action in dispute over safe staffing levels

Paediatric nurses in Antrim Area Hospital have voted ‘yes’ in favour of action short of strike action and 93% in favour of all-out industrial action – with an unprecedented 100% return on ballot papers and a 100% return voting.

UNISON joint branch secretary for the Northern Trust Stephanie Greenwood said, “This ballot outcome is unprecedented in its return percentage and its vote for action. This must serve as an acknowledgement as to how strongly the nurses within UNISON feel.”

The action stems from a dispute over the rotation of nurses from the paediatric ward to the emergency department, which nurses state will leave both departments under-resourced, understaffed and put children at risk.

Nurses are so concerned the proposal will compromise the safety of young patients they have voted overwhelming in favour of industrial action.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis has stated that “something is deeply wrong when nurses feel they have no alternative but to call for action to protect children from clinical risk.”

The Northern Trust has ignored all clinical concerns raised by nurses and their union UNISON during protracted negotiations. UNISON believes the Northern Trust is failing in its responsibility to deliver a safe and positive patient experience.

UNISON regional organiser Brian Ferguson called today for the chief executive of the Northern Trust to urgently meet directly with the paediatric nurses and genuinely listen to and heed their concerns.