UNISON Northern Ireland



Thousands of key workers died during the pandemic looking after us.
In the public services nurses, care workers, cleaners and more made the ultimate sacrifice to help others.
This was all the more heart-breaking because for years before COVID-19, these public service workers have been undervalued, underpaid and mainly invisible.
Years of neglect made the effect of the pandemic so much worse.  One example of that neglect was the PPE shortage that emerged when the pandemic hit. 
Another is the fragmented nature of care services for the elderly and vulnerable – where staff frequently experience low pay, insecure employment and impossible workloads to manage.
In our NHS a shortage of nurses and other key staff means there are fewer people to look after patients.
This is the result of more than 10 years of spending cuts and austerity. The damage to all the vital services that make our communities strong and resilient, including schools and our community voluntary sector, is plain to see. 
Despite all this, key workers in our public services pulled through for all of us.
As government attempts to return to normal, it’s crucial for all of us that the same mistakes aren’t made again and we don’t return to undervaluing our public services and the people who provide them. 
This autumn, politicians in Westminster and Stormont will be making important decisions about the future funding of our public services.
Early signs suggest the UK government wants to pitch the public sector against private sector and will ignore long term structural problems that got us to where we are now.  

That’s why we’re calling for measures now to:


Rebuild all our public services, by securing long term investment and making money available to employ and train the number of staff that are needed to ensure our services are there when you need them.


Give public sector workers a decent pay rise because the pandemic has shown how important they are. This would also help the lowest paid out of in-work poverty.


Create fairer and safer work places with proper risk assessments.  Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.  Disabled workers and other vulnerable groups need to have the right to work from home whilst the risk of COVID-19 persists.  


Build a fairer and greener post COVID-19 society, in which the inequalities that have become so evident during the crisis are addressed as a matter of urgency.

Click here to support the national campaign.  Add your name to our letter and tell the government there’s no going back to normal.


Show your support for our campaign at home and at work. Click on the image of your choice to download the poster from this page, and put it in your window, or on your union noticeboard at work.
Encourage your family and friends to do the same.  It’s a great way to show that you support public service workers and the services they provide.