Fermangh health workers to take to the picket lines

FERMANAGH health workers are set to strike again this autumn, with Unison members first to take to the picket lines this week, calling for pay parity and fairness.
With a wide range of health and other public sector strikes on the cards for the months ahead – with local further education workers already taking industrial action earlier this week – the Unison members will be taking 48-hour action from midnight tomorrow (Thursday) until midnight on Friday.
Chairwoman of the Fermanagh and Omagh branch of Unison, Jill Weir, explained the strike is calling for health workers here to receive pay parity with their NHS colleagues in England and Wales, as had previously been promised to them in the past.
While there was a little progress on last year’s call for pay parity, the problem has returned with NHS workers here unfairly not being offered the same pay deal as across the water. Ms Weir lays the responsibility firmly at the feet of Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris.
“He has refused to engage going forward and we have told him quite categorically, we will not be used as political pawns,” she said, adding there was a similar feeling among workers across the whole public sector.
“There is quite a lot of industrial action going on, not just in health but in education and roads and so on.
“The public sector is very angry that the Secretary of State is not looking after the people he is supposed to look after and is using us as political pawns to put pressure on the Executive.”
Ms Weir pointed out it had already been agreed, following industrial action in 2019, that workers here would be given pay parity with their NHS colleagues, and were assured this situation would not arise again. She pointed out this was the only demand of the health workers.
Stressing she hoped the public would understand the need for the strike, Ms Weir continued, “We do not want to do this, it is a last resort for us to be on strike, but he is not listening. He has had ample time to sort this out.”

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