NI healthcare workers deserve same pay offer as England

A CALL has been made for healthcare workers in Fermanagh and the North to receive the same pay increase offer as those in England.

Health unions in England have gone back to their members to vote upon a five per cent pay increase offered to them by the Department of Health following a period of industrial action.

However, no such offer has been made to their counterparts in Fermanagh and the North with planned strike action for March 31 and April 3 still scheduled to take place.


The lack of a functioning executive at Stormont has been cited for no NI offer being made, but Jill Weir – Joint Branch Secretary of the Fermanagh & Omagh branch of Unison – says the situation should be dealt with by Westminster and that Irish healthcare workers should not be used to force NI politicians to restore government in Belfast.

She said: “The problem is, because of us (in Northern Ireland) not having our own government – our own devolved executive – is who is going to make decisions for us?


Joint Branch Secretary of the Fermanagh & Omagh branch of Unison, Jill Weir.


“We had to push the Secretary of State to even get £1,400 to be implemented at the end of this month. NHS workers are getting at the end of this month the pay-rise for 2022/23. The day after will be a new financial year so this is how long it has taken for Northern Ireland.

“We need somebody to make decisions here. At this present time, we are still on industrial action. We would hope that somebody in the Northern Ireland Office is going to have the authority to say that we will get a similar deal to what’s happening in England to put to our members.


“What we have been saying all along is that we will not be used as political puppets for the UK government to try and force the executive back to Stormont.

“That happened in 2019 – albeit in a different scenario. However, that should not be a reason for them not to engage with the health unions and to not be able to implement things.

“We shouldn’t be held to ransom for that because that’s not good enough.”

Another bone of contention is that healthcare workers in Scotland have won a pay-rise of 6.5 per cent – a higher rate than those in England.

Weir added: “We all would love the Scottish rate. For the last few years, Scotland has always been ahead of us.

“However, they have a different devolved government which has fiscal powers where they can set taxes. England, Wales and Northern Ireland would love, what we call, pay parity with Scotland.

“But because health is a devolved matter, it is the devolved country that has to sort it out.

“The other assurance that we got when we went out on strike in 2019 was that we would get pay parity with England – the minister assured us that would be the way going forward and that’s what we at least expect.”

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