UNISON Northern Ireland

NI Trade Unions continue pursuit for fair wages, investment in services and a fairer financial arrangement for Northern Ireland.

Yesterday in Belfast, trade union leaders representing working people in all professions and occupations met to discuss the pressures faced by everyone in Northern Ireland compounded, by derisory pay offers and the financial decisions of the NI Secretary of State, Chris Heaton-Harris MP.

Speaking after the meeting, ICTU Assistant General Secretary Gerry Murphy said:

“The Secretary of State is punishing workers and service users while acting as if he is taking on a recalcitrant political class who refuse to take responsibility themselves in Stormont. This is a cop-out and an abdication of his responsibility when he is de facto, direct ruler.    

“In the next few weeks, there is the strong likelihood that the strike action taken this week by school support staff will be replicated by teachers and principals, alongside a new wave of industrial action across public transport. Today sees Barristers taking industrial action. These actions are what a movement looks like.

“Related to that will be a renewed political campaign throughout December aimed at the Secretary of State who rules this place and decides our budgets, while also supporting the return of a revitalised Stormont with the financial resources and political will to defend, protect and improve the public services which our communities need and our public servants want to deliver.

“The new year will bring new challenges. Unions across the public sector and including parts of the private sector are gearing up for a new wave of industrial action over the coming months. Many unions have ‘live’ ballots mandating strike action and/or action short of strike. The beginning of 2024 could see a further escalation involving almost every worker in the entire public sector.  

“Trade unions are not backing down. We demand justice on pay and a financial settlement which delivers for all working people.”