UNISON Northern Ireland

UNISON demands pay justice for “left behind” Northern Ireland Health Workers

UNISON health workers representing their colleagues across the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services system took their call to end an NHS pay deficit to the Treasury and Parliament in London today.

Workers in nursing, social services, support services and administration across the health sector took their demands to the door of the Treasury.  

UNISON is adamant that its members in Northern Ireland will not be “left behind” their equivalents in England, Scotland and Wales.

While other parts of the UK have been awarded three-year wage deals in a collective agreement which is supposed to cover all four health services, Northern Ireland Health workers have had a one-year deal imposed on them.

The delegation were joined by UNISON representatives from England, Scotland and Wales in support of their demand for the immediate release of extra funding for a pay settlement that applies across the whole of the UK.

Health workers Maura McKenna and Conor McCarthy, Co-Chairs of the UNISON Northern Ireland health and social services group, welcomed the backing of UNISON members from other parts of the UK.

Maura McKenna said: "Talks are underway with the Northern Ireland Health Department. We previously only had a one year settlement imposed on us without agreement unlike other parts of the NHS which secured a three year deal. We are not prepared to be left behind."

Conor McCarthy said: "The Department of Health in Northern Ireland says it does not have the money to pay us. The UK Government is holding on to power because a Supply and Confidence deal with the DUP which included an addition £1 billion for Northern Ireland. The DUP along with all other parties in Northern Ireland is supporting our claim.  We are here to say to the UK Treasury ‘where’s our money?’’’

Social care is funded and delivered through our integrated health service in Northern Ireland unlike the rest of the UK. The funding available to Northern Ireland must also be increased to support our social care needs."

UNISON’s Northern Ireland Head of Bargaining and Representation, Anne Speed said: "We are delivering our message not only to the Treasury but also to Northern Ireland MPs who sit in Westminster and to Northern Ireland MLAs who are discussing the restoration of devolution, and funding for a new programme for government. Workers will not accept this growing inequality. Resources are urgently needed to end the pay deficit."

Notes to editors:

- The UNISON delegation were at Church House, Westminster, London, at 11.30am today before moving to the Treasury in Whitehall and then outside the houses of Parliament.

- UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

- Two thirds of UNISON’s 40,000 members in Northern Ireland work in the health & social services system.

Contact details for London delegation:  

Anne Speed: 07904427133

Maura McKenna: 07968135150

Conor McCarthy: 07834174571

Contact details in Belfast: 

Patricia McKeown: 07802539096