NewsHealthcare workers: Unions to Vote Members on New Wage Offer

Healthcare workers: Unions to Vote Members on New Wage Offer

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Unions representing healthcare workers in Northern Ireland are set to conduct a ballot among their members to gauge their stance on a proposed pay deal. The agreement, if approved, aims to reinstate pay parity with England and offers a 5% salary increase along with a one-time payment of £1,505.

The announcement was met with approval from Unison, a prominent union representing thousands of workers, which stated that months of industrial action had ultimately led to a positive outcome. Health Minister Robin Swann also welcomed the news, referring to it as a “positive step” in the direction of reaching a satisfactory pay settlement.

Acknowledging the progress made, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) expressed disappointment that the one-off payment fell short of what their counterparts in England received. The RCN emphasized the protracted nature of pay settlements, noting that they were overdue due to political and budgetary instabilities. The settlements, when finalized, would be retroactively applied from April 2023.

A Unison spokesperson highlighted the significant efforts made by health workers, including six days of strike action and 15 months of working to rule, culminating in what they deemed a successful resolution. The union also praised Minister Swann for swift responsiveness to the crisis.

Despite achieving pay parity with England, Unison pointed out that Northern Ireland health workers still lag behind their counterparts in Scotland and Wales in terms of pay bands. Rita Devlin, RCN director, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the prolonged wait for a resolution to the pay situation and the disappointment felt by many nursing staff at not receiving an equivalent amount to their English colleagues.

Last year, nurses in England were offered a 5% pay rise and a one-off settlement of at least £1,655. The RCN announced plans to consult its members on the proposed pay settlement shortly.

Unite, another union involved in the negotiations, encouraged its members to vote in favor of accepting the pay offer, emphasizing that it ensures pay parity with NHS workers in England and Wales and addresses safe staffing concerns.

The article also mentioned recent industrial actions in the form of a large-scale strike on January 18 involving nurses, midwives, and healthcare workers, and the decision of junior doctors to take strike action for the first time, scheduling a 24-hour walkout from March 6 to 7 following the ballot result.

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