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Northern Ireland hospital staff walk out in pay dispute

By Alan Jones

Picket lines will be mounted outside Northern Ireland hospitals today as health workers, including midwives, nurses, radiographers, cleaners and psychiatric staff stage a fresh strike in a bitter row with the Government over pay.

Members of 11 unions will walk out for four hours from 8am in protest at the coalition's controversial decision not to accept a recommended 1% wage rise for all NHS employees.

Unison leader Dave Prentis said the strike "sound alarm bells ringing" in Westminster.

Unions have struck deals with the administrations in Scotland and Wales, increasing their anger at Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who they accuse of refusing to discuss the long-running row. The minister has erected a "Berlin wall of intransigence", the unions said.

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