Health staff to strike and ‘work to rule’

The man was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital
The man was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital

Health workers started a two week work to rule on Monday while midwives are to hold a four hour strike on Thursday and Ambulance staff striking on May 6.

This second wave of industrial action by public service workers is aimed at trying to get a pay rise and better working conditions.

The strike by the Royal College of Midwives is from 8am to noon on Thursday, May 1, the first time midwives have taken strike action in 134 years.

No elective Caesarean sections will take place and routine work, such as antenatal clinics, have been rescheduled.

However, Paula Jordan, an RCM representative for the southern trust, stressed that no woman will be put in any danger and that women in labour or who need medical advice should contact the maternity unit as normal.

Action short of a strike will also be taken from May 1-7 when midwives will be working to rule.

A record of any overtime worked will be kept to show how much the job depends on the goodwill of staff.

Unite’s Ambulance Service members will join Translink workers for a twenty-four hour stoppage on May 6th. Union members across the health service are set to refuse to work unpaid overtime from April 30th.

Unite National Officer Kevin McAdam, confirmed that his union had agreed a programme of strike action in pursuit of an outstanding pay claim for 2014-15, the lack of an offer for the current year and proposed health service closures.

UNSON as the biggest health union expects thousands of its members across all health service settings will be responding to the call to withdraw additional, voluntary, unpaid and goodwill time that they have been contributing. There are widespread reports that staff are demoralised, feeling exploited and undervalued and are completely frustrated at being taken for granted.

“Our members are already putting their shoulders to the wheel in holding up a creaking and dysfunctional and over bureaucratised health service. They have taken to the streets for months now in solidarity with and giving strong support to communities resisting cuts to services.  Now they have to deal with the added insult of a pay deal for last year which was the worst across the four NHS jurisdictions and no offer at all for 2015/2016.  Their actions over the next two weeks (April 27th to May 10th) should illustrate the huge amount of goodwill and the big contribution they make.”