UNISON Northern Ireland


Today (24th February) UNISON can announce that our members working across the health and social services system have overwhelmingly voted to accept the proposed framework agreement on pay parity and safe staffing. Commenting on the result, UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

“Today is the culmination of an incredible campaign by our over 26,000 members across the entire health and social services system both to secure pay parity and to challenge unsafe staffing levels. Our members have not just achieved that goal through their industrial action; they have also played a major role in seeing our devolved Government restored.

We will continue to work intensively with the Department of Health to implement the agreement both in relation to pay and to deliver all aspects of the proposals on safe staffing without delay.

We recognise that the Health Minister moved quickly after his appointment to endorse this agreement. We expect the Minister and the Department to ensure that it is now implemented swiftly. In particular, we must see delivery on a strategy for safe staffing.

Patients, the public and our members need a health service that has enough staff to meet increasing demand and deliver the care that is so badly needed. This issue cannot wait any longer.

Our members showed huge determination by taking sustained industrial action over several weeks from November until January. They did so responsibly, always mindful of the needs of the public that they serve. We are incredibly grateful to the public for the massive support they displayed for all health and social services workers taking industrial action. Tomorrow our members will mark their gratitude to the public and thank them for their patience and support outside City Hall, Belfast.”


Notes to editors:

  1. UNISON members responded to a ballot on the framework agreement endorsed by the Minister for Health in January. This agreement restores pay parity for health and social services workers in Northern Ireland with England with effect from 1st April 2019. It also sets out a funded framework for safe staffing. 93.7% of UNISON members responding to the ballot accepted the proposals on pay, with 94.2% accepting the proposals on safe staffing.
  2. Tomorrow (25th February) UNISON members will hold an event outside City Hall to thank the public for their patience and unwavering support during the industrial action. The media is invited to attend from 12:45pm (cobbled area outside City Hall) and UNISON representatives will be available for comment.