Members across health and education services are being balloted on strike action over pay, jobs, stress and workload

UNISON logoUNISON members across health and education services in Northern Ireland are being balloted on strike action.

The union is calling on all members across health, social services and the education service to vote ‘Yes’ for strike action in the ballot, which runs until February 24th.

Any strike action is currently scheduled for March 13th. Similar ballots are being conducted by other unions across the civil service, transport and other key public services.

Northern Ireland regional secretary Patricia McKeown said: “The ballot papers reflect the issues of key concern to all our members in health, social services and education.

“The issues have been widely publicised. They include the thousands of jobs already cut, privatised or casualised and more of the same to come; unsafe staffing levels in hospitals and social care; financial losses already suffered by some of the lowest-paid workers in Northern Ireland and the mounting stress levels and ill health being experienced by decent people trying to do increasingly impossible jobs in an intolerable world of constant cuts.

“UNISON members are saying ‘enough is enough’. The pressure on jobs and services has become so great that entire groups of members not known for industrial militancy are now demanding it.

“The call is coming from nurses and home care workers, as well from school meals staff, hospital cleaners, porters and administrators.

“Our members have already demonstrated their determination to stand up for their rights and the rights of the people they serve. The executive and the assembly are unwise to ignore them at this critical time.”

In addition to the hundreds of workplace meetings that are already taking place, UNISON has organised more than 50 public meetings in cities and towns across Northern Ireland, calling for support and direct action from local communities where the impact of cuts, closures and job losses is most acute.

The meetings all take place over the next three weeks.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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