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Anne Speed, Head of Bargaining and Representation in UNISON leading a delegation of health trade unions delivered a strong message to the Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris that Health workers in Northern Ireland need a pay rise, they need pay justice. 

The meeting was also attended by the Department of Health, where the Secretary of State was told that workers won't accept the removal of pay parity (restored in 2019) by default. 

He was also told that health workers will not wait until Stormont returns. 

UNISON rally at Belfast City Hall



After 4 months of industrial action including 4 full-day strikes across the health and social services system, the determination of health workers has finally brought the government to the negotiating table. The Secretary of State, Department of Health and Health Trade Union Negotiators will now meet on Wednesday


UNISON members across the health service in Northern Ireland remain determined not to be ignored and take a seat at the back of the bus. 

Strike action goes ahead as planned.

Picket line information

UNISON is deeply concerned by reports today (30th March 2023) that the Department of Education intends to end funding for a range of important programmes designed to support children and young people. Responding to this, UNISON Head of Bargaining and Representation Anne Speed, said:

The Joint Secretaries from NIPSA, UNISON, GMB and Unite (JTUS) met with the Mark Browne, Permanent Secretary - Department of Education (DE) and Mark Bailey - Director of Workforce and Martin Monaghan – Workforce Planning Team on 29th March.

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the implementation of the EA Pay and Grading review, which was submitted to the Department of Education in February 2023.
The meeting was a robust, frank exchange of opinions. The following are the salient points from the meeting.

The Secretary of State had an opportunity last night to put a proposal to striking health workers which would have allowed us to suspend industrial action.

Instead, neither he nor any NIO representative turned up at the meeting and the local health leadership simply stated that it did not have any money with which to make an offer.  

Consequently, thousands of health workers will now take 24 hour strikes across the system on 31st March and 3rd April.  

"It has been more than a week since an offer to NHS health workers in England, and health workers here in Northern Ireland are feeling they remain last in line.

At a meeting to prepare for 2 days' strike action scheduled for March 31st and April 3rd, UNISON's lay leaders across the health service here pledged to continue our fight for fair pay.

The joint Northern Ireland Trade Union group in Health have agreed the following update regarding the recent pay offer made to NHS England Trade Unions.

A revised offer was made to Staff Council Trade Unions by the Secretary of State for Health, Steve Barclay last week. This was for England only however assurances were given to NHS Staff Council TU side that this offer would be funded by new money and as such Barnett consequentials would follow for the Devolved Administrations (DAs).

Following the announcement of a pay offer to NHS staff in England UNISON's Health Committee in Northern Ireland is now asking the question when will a pay offer be made to health staff here? 

Meeting today Thursday March 16th in emergency session, UNISON's Industrial Action planning team is asking if new money, promised by the UK Treasury, will be ring fenced for health staff pay.   

Anne Speed, Head of Bargaining and Representation at UNISON Northern Ireland said after the meeting: 

A large number of claims were lodged some time ago with the Industrial Tribunal on behalf of UNISON members by our solicitors, Thompsons’ NI,  against 5 Health Trusts on rates of pay for staff undertaking sleep-in shifts in residential facilities.