Belfast Telegraph

Health strike: Anger on Craigavon Hospital picket line directed at Julian Smith

Craigavon Area Hospital - nurses take part in strike action December 18, 2019. Photo by Matt Mackey/ Press Eye.
Craigavon Area Hospital - nurses take part in strike action December 18, 2019. Photo by Matt Mackey/ Press Eye.
Craigavon Area Hospital - nurses take part in strike action December 18, 2019. Photo by Matt Mackey/ Press Eye.
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Several hundred healthcare workers are braving the driving wind and rain in the grounds of Craigavon Area Hospital demanding pay parity with their healthcare colleagues across the rest of the UK.

The wet and windy conditions haven’t deterred the huge crowd from marching through the hospital grounds to the sound of cheers and car horns.

Around 500 people are involved in the strike action with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) taking to the picket line for the first time in its 103-year history and joining workers in Nipsa, Unison and Unite trade unions.

Have you been impacted by today's strike action? Contact our news team at digital.editorial@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Craigavon Area Hospital - nurses take part in strike action December 18, 2019. Photo by Matt Mackey/ Press Eye.
Craigavon Area Hospital - nurses take part in strike action December 18, 2019. Photo by Matt Mackey/ Press Eye.
Craigavon Area Hospital - nurses take part in strike action December 18, 2019. Photo by Matt Mackey/ Press Eye.
Craigavon Area Hospital - nurses take part in strike action December 18, 2019. Photo by Matt Mackey/ Press Eye.

Brian Smyth from Nipsa told the Belfast Telegraph it was time health workers got a fair deal.

He said: “We demand that the politicians get together and do the right thing instead of writing pontificating letters telling us what they want to do. They need to give workers a fair pay rise because they deserve it.”

Many of those on the picket line are directing their anger at the Secretary of State Julian Smith including John Creaney who has worked at Craigavon Hospital for 14 years.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous that we have to come to a picket line for something that just needs a signature,” he said.

“We will stand here in the wind and rain until this pay parity is ended and we have safe staffing levels.

“My concern is that Julian Smith isn’t putting the patients who are in beds first.”

 

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