Northern Ireland facing widespread disruption as health, civil service and and education workers set to strike
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Members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) working for health trusts, the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority are taking part in the action from 8.30-12.30am on Thursday.
The CSP says health and social care staff in Northern Ireland remain the lowest paid across the UK.
"They are yet to be offered a pay uplift for 2023/24 and have received no additional pay award for 2022/23," it said.
It said 88 per cent of members voted yes to strike action on a turnout of 55 per cent.
Claire Ronald, CSP senior negotiating officer for Northern Ireland said:
"No physiotherapist or support worker in Northern Ireland wants to strike but they have been put in a position where they feel they have no other choice or way to raise their concerns.
“A lack of a fair pay deal means our members in Northern Ireland are struggling to stay in work and provide care for patients. Having received no increased pay deal for 2022/23 nor a pay
uplift for 2023/24, physio staff and other NHS workers continue to be the worst-paid in the UK. This situation is further entrenched by inflation and cost-of-living crisis which means many of our members simply can’t afford to stay in their roles. We
desperately need politicians to resolve their differences to reform the assembly because this current situation cannot go on. Our members need a negotiated settlement now. The CSP is also calling on the secretary of state to secure any Barnet funding from the English pay award and ring fence it for HSC staff.”
UNISON members in the health service in Northern Ireland are also on strike for 48 hours on Thursday and Friday, 21 and 22 September. Ambulance crews, nurses, health care assistants, pharmacists,radiographers, porters, admin and technical staff, cleaners and catering are taking action.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) across all six Further Education colleges across NI are on strike all of this this week.
And NIPSA members in Health and Social Care (HSC) and Civil Service (NICS) will take strike action together on Friday 22 September, as will members of Royal College of Midwives.
The Department of Health responded that it is expecting significant disruption to services as a result of industrial action on September 21 and 22.
A spokeswoman said information on impacts from industrial action will be provided on Health Trust websites.
"The Department understands the deep-seated frustration over the ongoing absence of a pay offer for this year but very much regrets that colleagues have decided this industrial action is required," she added.
The 2023/24 budget puts the department in an “impossible position” and “decisions are required that are not in the best interests of the health and social care system.”
Matching the English pay offer for Agenda for Change health and social care staff would require large scale cuts on an unprecedented scale, with “severe and lasting implications” for services, she said.