SoR’s executive director of industrial strategy has shared a message of solidarity with striking members in Northern Ireland.
Members of the Society have joined workers from 11 other unions in holding a 12-hour walkout on Thursday, 18 January, in protest over working conditions in the region.
Due to a significant shortage of radiographers, almost 10 per cent of the population of NI is currently waiting for diagnostic scans, while the NI radiography workforce is the lowest paid in the UK, exacerbating the staff shortages.
The Society of Radiographers says that the Health and Social Care (HSC) could reduce waiting lists, save lives and save taxpayers’ money by offering a fair starting salary for radiography professionals, as well as a move to restore pay levels for current staff over several years, from the 2023-24 pay award onwards.
Sharing a message of solidarity with striking members, SoR’s executive director of industrial strategy and member relations, Dean Rogers, said: “We are proud to be supporting our members participating in the largest strike in Northern Ireland's history.
“Strike action, especially by dedicated professionals, is always taken reluctantly as a last resort but the situation in Northern Ireland is totally unsustainable.
“Politicians of all shades in Northern Ireland and the government in Westminster have allowed a stalemate to drag on for too long. There has been an abdication from those on both sides of the Irish Sea to govern as they are elected and paid to do.
“Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has some of the longest waiting lists in Europe, a growing health crisis and an NHS workforce crisis. The inability to even make any pay offer in the midst of the highest period of sustained inflation in living memory is fuelling the NHS staffing crisis - with members acutely aware of better offers available elsewhere in the UK, in the local independent sector and in the commutable Republic of Ireland.
“Belatedly the political leadership have engaged with their day job but progress has been too limited and too slow. To hear, for example, that the capital borrowing limit being set in a deal by Westminster for the next five years is significantly less than a Premier League club is allowed to raise as debt in the same period is beyond comprehension. Northern Ireland needs serious investment and substantial support. It needs stability - that means a settlement and budget that can address the workforce crisis, cover Agnew costs and allow public services to catch up.
“The message from public sector workers is ‘Get real and do your job so that you start to help us do ours’.
“Northern Ireland's patients deserve better. Public servants, including in the NHS, need better."