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Every union in Northern Ireland's health service will join strike action

By Victoria O'Hara

Massive disruption is expected over the coming weeks as every union in Northern Ireland's health service strikes or takes industrial action.

The GMB said ambulance workers and other NHS staff were set to join midwives in taking industrial action over a failure to implement a 1% pay rise.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where a pay deal with NHS workers has not been reached. Industrial action will affect all five health trusts. It will start on Monday and last for two weeks. Unison members will also begin a work to rule the same day.

GMB ambulance workers will commence a two-week overtime ban starting the following day.

And the Society of Radiographers will be taking strike action tomorrow week.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) will strike for the first time ever also on April 30 for four hours over a 1% pay claim.

Beginning at 8am and ending at midday, it will result in non-emergency procedures and appointments being cancelled. Planned caesarian sections, scans or clinic attendances will be affected.

RCM NI director Breedagh Hughes said the four-hour action would "concentrate" minds on the issues why midwives felt the need to strike.

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson said: "There is something seriously wrong when a body as eminent as the Royal College of Midwives votes by such a majority in favour of holding strike action for the first time in its 134-year history."

GMB officer Denise Walker said "We are still waiting for the department to come back to the unions with their proposed framework to discuss pay for 2015/16."

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