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NHS workers' union Unite announces second strike over pay

Health staff will walk out of Craigavon Area Hospital and Bangor Hospital on Monday

Northern Ireland's biggest trade union has announced a second NHS strike over pay will take place on Monday.

Unite health workers will stage a four-hour stoppage at Craigavon Area Hospital and Bangor Hospital.

The walkout will take place between 8am and noon.

Unite's lead officer for health Kevin McAdam said members were frustrated with the Health Minister’s failure to deliver on the Independent Pay Body’s recommendation for a 1% pay rise.

“Over the past years, we have experienced cuts in service, recruitment freezes and down-gradings across the service with remaining staff being asked to stretch further and further," he said.

"NHS workers’ pay has been eroded by 15% over the past four years while their pension contributions have increased 3% in the same period - this has not been to cover costs but to go directly into treasury coffers in order to pay for the bankers’ bailout.

“Now our members are being told that they have to forego a recommended one per cent pay increase. This cannot go on. Enough is enough."

Mr McAdam accused the minister, Jim Wells, of a "dishonest sleight-of-hand attempting to confuse a pay rise with pay increments received in recognition of employee professional development and skills acquisition".

He added: “Only those at the top of their scale will be given a one-off payment equivalent to one per cent. This payment will not be added to pay and will not count towards pensions although it will be fully liable for tax and national insurance.

“Our members cannot and will not sit back and take further cuts to our pay. We have to stand up for the service we provide. We are all proud of our NHS and what it stands for but what we see now is it being damaged deliberately and patient safety compromised in favour of balancing books and making austerity cuts."

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