NI HEALTH SERVICE STRIKE: Some services will be impacted, says Southern Trust

Health care workers and hospital staff who took part in industrial action outside Craigavon Hospital
Health care workers and hospital staff who took part in industrial action outside Craigavon Hospital

Patient appointments are not expected to be cancelled by this week’s industrial action by staff, the Southern Health Trust has said.

Nurses are to start this week’s industrial action today (Tuesday December 3) including Craigavon and Daisy Hil Hospitals.

A Trust spokesperson said: “Both Unison and RCN have advised industrial action will take place in the Southern Trust week commencing 2 December.

“We will do everything we can to mitigate disruption, however it is inevitable that some services will be impacted. We apologise in advance to anyone affected.

“We do not anticipate that any patient appointments will be cancelled, however if the industrial action continues, Trust staff will make direct contact with patients and clients whose service or appointment may be impacted, including transport to day centres.If you do not hear from us it means that your service or appointment is going ahead as planned.”

Meanwhile health and care workers in Unite voted overwhelmingly this week to join the strike with members expected to take action on December 18th.

Kevin McAdam who chairs the Trade Union negotiating team said: “Richard Pengelly talks of extensive negotiations yet he has yet to bother to join those discussions. Instead he chose to negotiate through the media and released a statement to the media while Unite members were engaged in an industrial action ballot. This was nothing more than a desperate attempt to influence our members. Wrong in so many ways!”

“Today with this overwhelming vote in favour. Our members have given Mr Pengelly his answer. Unite Pharmacists, Community Practitioners and Health Visitors, Psychologists, Pathology Lab staff, Speech and Language Therapists, Health Scientists and workers in support services will join members of the RCN, Unison and NIPSA in taking a first twenty-four hour strike action set for December 18th.

“We call on Mr Pengelly to see sense and to deliver full pay equality and an end to the staffing crisis. End the waste on private staffing agencies and redirect NHS funds to front line staff and services!”

In relation to the latest announcement of strike action by Unite, a spokesperson for the Southern Health Trust said: “The Trust has not been formally notified of Unite action, so until that happens, we can’t make specific contingency plans. We will keep the public informed as soon as we know what the likely impact on the Trust is.

“The Trust has been undertaking detailed contingency planning for potential strike action. Contingency planning will intensify when the detail of industrial action/strike action is confirmed.”

Details of Industrial Action this week:

RCN has advised their members to take a number of actions short of strike on Tuesday 3 December. In addition to actions short of strike week commencing 2 December 2019, Unison will be calling its members to take strike action as follows:-

Tuesday 3 December 12noon - 4pm

Craigavon Hospital – Laundry

Wednesday 4 December 8am – 12 noon

Various Trust sites – Transport

St Luke’s Armagh and South Tyrone Hospital - Porters

Daisyhill Hospital - Porters