THE LARGEST health union here has voted for strike action – with a date set, March 13, for a strike and rally locally in the centre of Enniskillen.
There are over 2,000 members of the Fermanagh and Omagh branch of Unison, with many based at the South West Acute Hospital.
The strike is over pay freezes and cuts to the sectors across the North. Education members here have also voted to strike.
Unison branch secretary Jill Weir described a ‘strong reply back’ and said that while workers had agreed to strike it was a ‘hard decision’.
“Nobody wants to strike – it’s a hard decision especially for people in the caring profession.
The people who strike lose their pay for the time that they are on strike – it’s not an easy decision. It’s got to the point where people feel that they’ve been given no other choice. And all negotiations seem to have failed with the health minister,” she said.
“At the end of the day we will not be putting any patient at risk. There may be some inconvenience to people but it is not our wish to put anyone at risk,” she added.
A rally is also planned for the centre of Enniskillen, the branch secretary explained.
“That is where all the picket lines will meet. We are saying that we are rallying at the Town Hall at 1pm. I am hoping that people are realising what is coming their way – this is only the start of it.
“Fermanagh can be proud of the things they have done in the past, and they really need to be coming out again – this is for health, this is for education, this is for public sector workers.”
GMB union members employed in Translink, in Education and in the Northern Ireland Civil Service in the Road Service, the Rivers Agency, the Forestry Service and Northern Ireland Environment Agency have also voted for industrial action on the March 13 over proposed cuts in the public sector in Northern Ireland.
Results from other union ballots, including Unite, have not yet been released.
A spokesman for the Western Health and Social Care Trust said: “The Trust has been advised that a trade union is taking strike action on Friday 13 March 2015. Management and staff are working closely with local trade union representatives to minimise any disruption to services during the planned industrial action.
Essential services will be maintained throughout the period of action.”
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