RCN to consider strike action over Northern Ireland pay proposal

Department of Health Northern Ireland says it will proceed with its pay plans for nurses

Department of Health Northern Ireland says it will proceed with its pay plans for nurses

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Nurses in Northern Ireland are set to receive a pay increase in 2019, but the RCN says industrial action may be considered regarding the current pay offer. 

Last week the Department of Health Northern Ireland (DHNI) confirmed that it is proceeding with the pay award proposal, which it presented directly to the public last month after failing to consult unions.

College reaction

RCN Northern Ireland director Janice Smyth said this meant some staff would only receive a 1.5% pay uplift and that this was not good enough.

‘For the majority of our members, the pay award announced in November falls significantly short of the 3% minimum proposal,’ she said.

Ms Smyth added that the pay award denied many nurses ‘the incremental pay progression to which they are contractually entitled’.

A recent multi-union ballot indicated that 92-98% of members, including RCN Northern Ireland, want a formal vote on industrial action if no pay agreement is reached.

The RCN said further information about the vote will be published in January.

Ongoing talks

A DHNI spokesperson said the pay increase will be backdated to April 2018 and will be rolled out before the end of this financial year. They also confirmed that talks with unions are ongoing.

‘No formal agreement was reached, but all sides are committed to further discussions in 2019, including work on the modernisation of the Agenda for Change pay framework,’ they added.

Strike action for Republic of Ireland nurses

Nurses and midwives in the Republic of Ireland have voted to strike in a dispute over staff shortages and pay.

A total of 95% of Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) members agreed on industrial action following a ballot that was held last month.

The INMO’s executive council is to meet in January to discuss the vote and decide on the date for a 24-hour national strike, which would see nurses and midwives withdraw their labour, providing only emergency and life-saving care.

Republic of Ireland health minister Simon Harris called on all parties to work ‘intensively together to avert industrial action’.


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