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Unions in Northern Ireland keep the pressure on

22 May, 2019
Stormont Castle

Health unions in Northern Ireland, including the Society, have continued to pressure politicians this week expressing their concern about "the significant and worsening workforce challenges that exist within the health and social care workforce in Northern Ireland and the growing pay gap."

The letter from the joint secretaries, which urges the political leaders to set aside their differences and to restore a stable government within Northern Ireland, says: “Trade unions and the wider community understand the importance of good governance and support for our people, and expect the delivery of same from political leaders” and calls for “a future programme for government and resources to end the existing and growing pay deficits.

“Central to good governance is pay justice for working people, most especially those delivering health and social care,” the letter continues.

“As trade unions we continuously play our part in representing on and securing pay terms and conditions for our members. However, the current political context presents barriers to progress which we now need politicians to recognise and assist in finding a resolution.’

The letter follows a statement issued earlier this month from the joint secretaries of the health unions expressing their ongoing frustration with the lack of progress in pay talks.

Emergency Motion 1 at this year’s SoR Annual Delegates Conference called members of all parties to come together and form a new government. It said, “We are pleased to hear that power sharing talks are set to resume on 7 May but we are anxious that these are simply not another tick-box exercise.

“We must all now take a stand to ensure that our politicians act to re-instate the devolved government. Some of our delegation are termed ceasefire babies; they have grown up in relatively peaceful times because of the Good Friday Agreement. We must ensure that peace is protected in NI and that our elected politicians understand that we cannot go back to the violence and troubles of the past.”

The NI health unions are planning to meet with the DoH and employers over the next few months to break the pay deadlock and reach an agreed pay settlement.

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