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Today (25th November) UNISON members across the entire health and social services system will commence industrial action.

UNISON has served notice of the first week of Industrial Action on health & social services employers across Northern Ireland.

Phase 1 of the UNISON action will run from 25th November up to and including 18th December.  Phase 2 will run to March 2020.

UNISON members in the Health and social services system have voted for industrial action with 92% voting for strike action.

UNISON is the largest union in the health and social services system in Northern Ireland.  Its membership covers all health workers with the exception of doctors.  Its largest occupational groups are in nursing, social care and support services.

Health Unions in Northern Ireland expressed deep disappointment following the statement from the Department of Health that was read to the Trade Unions today outlining their position on pay.

UNISON notes media coverage in relation to claims made by the Department of Health in a briefing for MLAs that introducing pay parity for health workers in Northern Ireland would add £103 million to the pay bill this year. Responding to these claims, UNISON Head of Bargaining and Representation, Anne Speed said:

“The information that the Department of Health is sending to our political parties on the issue of pay is partial, incomplete and misleading.

Delegates attending the Council of the Isles in London today, held up messages of support for NHS workers in Northern Ireland. 

The delegates from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland called for pay parity for NHS workers in Northern Ireland and sent messages of solidarity for the ongoing industrial action ballot.

The ballot closes on Monday 11th November at 10am and workers are urged to post their ballot papers back by Friday 8th November. 


NIC ICTU has launched an online survey to gather the experiences of trade union members who have experienced sexual harassment in work.

UNISON notes the announcement today by the Department of Finance on the setting of public sector pay policy for 2019/20. 

Today Westminster is debating the Northern Ireland Budget Bill setting funding for public services.

Commenting on the Westminster debate on the Budget Bill, UNISON Head of Bargaining and Representation, Anne Speed said:

“UNISON members in health and social services are currently being balloted for industrial action and actions short of strike due to the growing pay deficit between workers in Northern Ireland and other parts of the NHS.

UNISON members across the Health Service in Northern Ireland launched their call to action displayed on Billboards and at Bus Shelters across the region, urging members to cast their votes in the ballots on industrial action that landed through their letterboxes from the middle of last week.

There are two questions being put to health workers: will you strike and will you take action short of strike in our campaign to secure a fair pay uplift, as given to other NHS workers in England Scotland and Wales.