UNISON Northern Ireland


Sending greetings to members of the RCN gathering next week in Belfast, Anne Speed Head of Bargaining and Representation, UNISON NI said

"Over 10,000 of our nursing family members share with RCN members pressures and difficulties on the front line and know only too well how nurses steadfastly hold services together and deliver daily high standards of care to patients and the people.

There are major challenges facing us all especially recruitment and retention of nursing, exacerbated by the impact of a pay deficit for nurses and health staff in Northern Ireland.  It is simply unacceptable that nurses here are the lowest paid in the NHS while the system has spent over £375 million on agency staff including nursing.

Health unions recognise we have a key role in mobilising and organising to meet these challenges and we welcome all opportunities to work with the RCN in tackling the issues.  Consultation is already underway on a possible pay deal for NHS staff in England and how an agreed deal could mean funding for staff in Northern Ireland.  UNISON, is with others leading efforts to secure a deal here.

Finally, we invite our RCN colleagues to join with us on June 30th to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS.  All health unions affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will assemble in Belfast in a mass people's mobilisation to mark and celebrate our public health service and all those who work in it."