Health unions to stage protests at main hospital sites over pay

A protest is to take place outside Altnagelvin this lunchtime to call for an above inflation pay increase.

Western Trust Trade Union Staffside, the collection of trade unions representing health and social care workers, said members and representatives have come together to unite on the campaign.

They have promised regular protests at hospital sites.

Andrew Doherty, secretary of the Western Trust Trade Union Staffside said: “Our health and social care service is in a deep crisis. We are losing good, quality staff every day, often to agency contracts because they pay more and have more flexibility over the shifts they work.

Altnagelvin Hospital

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"We need to really invest in our staff, starting with an above inflation pay increase. At the moment inflation is almost 12 per cent.

"A pay rise less than this is another pay cut for staff and leaves staff feeling undervalued and demoralised particularly after all the sacrifices, and labour during the pandemic. Staff here gave their all during the pandemic and are still suffering those consequences, and the absence of any pay award in Northern Ireland is unacceptable."

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Mr. Doherty pointed out that the NHS Pay Review Body has recommended that staff should receive a pay increase of £1,400.

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That means staff will get at least a 4 per cent pay rise. This has been offered to staff in England and Wales. In the north, however, an offer is yet to be made due to the stalemate at Stormont.

Trade unionists point to the ongoing cost of living crisis affecting their members.

Mr. Doherty said: “We have another really tough winter coming ahead. There is a cost of living crisis which health social care staff are facing themselves in their personal lives, but are also facing in their work with the consequences food and fuel poverty have on people’s health, meaning more pressures on the health and social care service. We need urgent action from the NI government to save our Health and Social Care Service.”

The first lunchtime action will take place on Wednesday, August 17 at 12.45pm outside Altnagelvin Hospital, Omagh Primary Care Centre and the South West Acute Hospital.

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