5th October – Northern Ireland nurses strike


NORTHERN Ireland’s Unison education and health members are to take strike action on October 5.

Unison general secretary Patricia McKeown said workers in many sectors were being stretched to the limit.

She added: ‘The UK Government did not think through the implications of their decisions to slice the biggest amounts of money ever seen off both the health and education budgets.’

She added that emergency cover will be provided in the health service.

The Unison Nurses Forum had called on the broad nursing family to vote ‘yes’ for industrial action.

It stated that ‘Unison is aware that taking strike action is a last resort for nurses, but the situation for many of our nursing staff has now reached breaking point.

‘Over the past year Unison has grown increasingly concerned about the conditions nurses are expected to work under and about the standard of care they are able to provide.

‘Nurses’ professionalism is under pressure and nurses can no longer remain silent about the effect that staff reductions, stress and cuts are having on patients, their relatives and themselves.

‘Nursing staff are under pressure to fill gaps, to take more work on, and not to complain and are made to feel guilty about raising concerns.

‘Nursing care is becoming more difficult. Nurses know the NHS is being stripped bare and they are being left to carry extra pressure and workloads.

‘Our members are the backbone of the Health Service. When they tell us that things are this bad, we have to listen and respond.’