UNISON Northern Ireland


Tomorrow (27th November) further restrictions come into effect across Northern Ireland aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 across our communities. UNISON, the largest union representing workers across all levels of the Health and Social Care system, are today appealing to the public to follow the new restrictions and continue to support their health service and all those who work in it.  

UNISON Northern Ireland Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said: 

‘‘UNISON members working across all parts of our health and social care system know how much the public they serve value their health service. This time last year the public displayed magnificent support for UNISON members taking industrial action for safe staffing levels and pay parity. Our members’ morale has been boosted hugely during the course of this pandemic by how the public applauded key workers every Thursday night for many weeks. 

As we enter these next two weeks of further restrictions we are asking the public to stand with health and social care workers once more, and follow the restrictions to protect the health service from being overwhelmed. 

The pandemic is putting the health service under strain like never before. Thousands of health workers are Covid positive or self-isolating. Some are very sick and tragically some have already lost their lives. Our hospitals remain full to capacity and many of our care homes are experiencing outbreaks of the virus.  

We know how tough these measures are, that people are having to sacrifice a great deal and that many are worried for their jobs and livelihoods. We continue to call for full financial support for those having to self-isolate and maximum protection for low paid workers in areas like retail and hospitality. 

The last few weeks have raised hopes of a vaccine being made available soon, but none of us can be complacent about what will happen if we do not drive down the transmission of this disease.  

If we do not act over this next two weeks there will be more infections, more hospital admissions, more outbreaks in care homes and more deaths. The Executive must engage with us urgently to plan and prepare for what will come at the end of these two weeks, as their decisions will continue to have a huge impact on health workers as we approach the Christmas holidays.’’