NI unions join the Society of Radiographers for ‘Generalised Day of Action’

A coalition of unions have announced strike action for 18 January, after SoR announced a walkout last week

Published: 19 December 2023 Government & NHS

Unions in Northern Ireland have joined forces with the Society of Radiographers to announce strike action on 18 January.

Last week, the SoR announced its own strike action in hopes of breaking “political deadlock” in NI that has arisen over the dispute with the government around the pay discrepency between radiographers in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. 

The day in January will be a day of ‘Generalised Day of Action’ across the public sector, including health, education, civil service and others.

'Workers cannot be hold hostage any longer'

Gerry Murphy, assistant general secretary to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, spoke at the conclusion of negotiations on restoring the North Ireland Executive, and explained the generalised day of action will bring together all workers currently in dispute. 

Mr Murphy added this will affect every part of public services, and that more unions are expected to declare their strike action over the coming weeks.

He said: “Workers in Northern Ireland cannot be held hostage by this process any longer. The Secretary of State has accepted that public sector pay needs to be settled and has admitted that he has the money to settle it. A worker’s pay is not some bauble to be dangled in a political negotiation. This money must be made available to settle this dispute now.

“The financial package outlined during this talks process represents a necessary shift in the UK government’s attitude, but it does not appear that it will be sufficient. We want to see the restoration of the NI Executive so that we can begin to bring some stability to public services here."

'No other choice'

The unions who have declared strike action so far include:

  • SoR 
  • Unison
  • GMB
  • NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers)
  • NIPSA (Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance)
  • RCM (Royal College of Midwives)
  • Unite
  • NASUWT (The Teacher’s Union)
  • INTO (Irish National Teacher’s Union)
  • CSP (Charted Society of Physiotherapists)
  • UTU (Ulster Teacher’s Union)
  • BDA (British Dietetic Association)

Cora Regan, SoR national officer for Northern Ireland, previously said: “Radiography professionals in NI have no other choice but to take strike action in the new year for the second time in a dispute over pay. SoR members can join colleagues/comrades at picket lines at their employing trust or join the rallies which will be planned for the day. 

“This is a huge show of solidarity amongst working people who have had enough of being treated like bargaining chips. We know that public services in Northern Ireland need to be protected, both now and in the future. 

“The inaction of the Westminster government, and the inertia of our own elected representatives, is placing the stability of our public services in Northern Ireland in jeopardy. They are playing political poker with the lives of our citizens, and it is not acceptable. The citizens of this place deserve better, our members deserve better.”

Staff working in the healthcare sector in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the UK.

Unprecedented support

Mr Murphy added that in the absence of movement on these issues, trade unions in Northern Ireland have “no option but to intensify” their programme of industrial action. 

Over the past year, almost every union in NI has taken Action Short of Strike action – when employees continue to work but withdraw some of their labour – and intermittent strike action, on the back of “unprecedented” support from members."

(Image: Breige Cobane)