Calls for workers’ demands to be met ahead of largest joint strike in living memory

Thousands of workers are gearing up for what will be the largest joint strike action in living memory if it goes ahead as expected next week.
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Members of over a dozen trade unions are set to take part in the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Northern Ireland Committee ‘Generalised Day of Action’ on Thursday, January 18.

Unions who have declared strike action so far include Unison, GMB, SoR (Society of Radiographers), NAHT, NIPSA, RCM, Unite, NASUWT, INTO, CSP (Charted Society of Physiotherapists), UTU and BDA (British Dietetic Association).

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Health, education, public transport workers and civil servants will be among those taking to the picket lines in what promises to be the largest day of joint industrial action in many decades.

Teachers' unions members and supporters at a strike rally in Guildhall Square last year. NASUWT and INTO members are joining unprecedented industrial action next Thursday.Teachers' unions members and supporters at a strike rally in Guildhall Square last year. NASUWT and INTO members are joining unprecedented industrial action next Thursday.
Teachers' unions members and supporters at a strike rally in Guildhall Square last year. NASUWT and INTO members are joining unprecedented industrial action next Thursday.

NIPSA, one of the unions involved, has issued notice to the Civil Service, Education Authority and Health Service employers that all the members in these areas will be taking part in strike action next week.

NIPSA General Secretary Carmel Gates said the industrial action will be the largest strike the North has ever seen.

“Public sector workers have had enough. The Secretary of State [Chris Heaton-Harris] has dangled the promise of money in front of workers, while withholding the very funds they desperately need.

"Enough is enough.

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“He must meet the demands of the union for inflation busting pay rises, safe staffing and a needs-based budget to properly fund public services both now and in the future - and he must do so immediately.

“This unprecedented strike action, which will be the biggest Northern Ireland has ever seen, will be only the start of the disruption if these issues are not dealt with.

"Public services are on their knees, so public servants will be on the picket lines,” said Ms. Gates.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has written to the Secretary of State urging him to urgently intervene to address the needs of public sector workers.

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Derry Councillor Shaun Harkin has called for a general strike on January 18
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The Foyle MP said that workers deserved far better than to be caught in the middle of an ‘embarrassing blame game between the NIO and the DUP’ when everyone agrees that they should be offered a fair pay award immediately.

He said: “Nurses, teachers, civil servants and other public sector workers aren’t taking this action lightly - they’re giving up a day’s pay and going out on strike to put down a marker for this government and for political parties here.

“The needs of workers have been overlooked, or used as part of some shameless blame game for far too long. I have written to the Secretary of State urging him to take decisive action to deliver the pay awards that workers deserve and that the NIO and British Treasury have already agreed to fund.

“Any political leader, whether it’s Chris Heaton Harris or Jeffrey Donaldson, should be ashamed that nurses, teachers and other public sector workers will again be forced to take strike action for pay justice while those with the power to deliver it sit on their hands. It is indefensible and their approach must change.”