Health staff envious at reported NI Water pay boost

Ambulance other NHS staff taking part in a 12-hour strike at the City Hospital in Belfast
Ambulance other NHS staff taking part in a 12-hour strike at the City Hospital in Belfast

A trade unionist has said health workers will be regarding the recent deal offered to NI Water employees with “envy”.

It comes after reports surfaced that its staff have been offered a pay hike of four per cent in exchange for accepting pension changes and calling off last month’s industrial action, which had led to over 10,000 homes being cut off from water.

The figure surfaced in a media report this week, and NI Water had refused to confirm it when it was put to the firm.

David Moorehead, a biomedical scientist and lay representative for the Unite union, is among those currently campaigning for a pay increase in the Northern Irish health sector.

On the subject of the reported four per cent hike, he said: “If that was offered in health, I think it would resolve a lot of issues.

“It’s a pretty good offer. We’ve been offered nothing akin to that in health.

“In health, we can only look on in envy because the minister hasn’t offered anything.”

Counterparts in the health service in England had been offered a permenent one per cent rise, plus an extra £200 for the lowest-paid staff.

But he said the offer in Northern Ireland amounts to much less, and is essentially a one-off payment worth one per cent for staff, backdated to last year.

It is also understood this would also only apply to those already at the top of pay bands.

He added: “We’d hope that a similar type of offer [to NI Water staff’s deal] would be on the table for health if that’s what’s being offered in other public services. We’re looking for parity.”

There was a strike among Unite and GMB health workers on January 29, with another, bigger one – including Unison – planned for March 13.