Nurses announce new dates for strike action

Nurses on the picket line outside Craigavon Hospital on Wednesday
Nurses on the picket line outside Craigavon Hospital on Wednesday

Nurses at Craigavon and across NI are set to go on strike again over pay parity and have announced dates for the next stage of industrial action.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in NI has sent notifications to the Department of Health and HSC employers that the next dates for strike action will be 8 and 10 January 2020.

Two weeks ago there was significant disruption to appointments and some surgeries were postponed as nurses went on strike for the first time in history.

Pat Cullen, Director of the RCN in NI said: “Nurses are angry that no-one appears to be taking seriously the crisis in our health service.

“By now, no-one in NI, or indeed the rest of the UK, can be in any doubt about the inequalities in health care that people in NI are facing,” said Pat Cullen.

“Yet, here we are, a day before Christmas, with the prospect of nursing staff taking strike action again in early January.

“We have written to the Secretary of State to say that we are extremely disappointed to learn of the failure of the health summit last week to produce any resolution to the safe staffing and pay parity issues that form the basis of our action.

“We are also disappointed to hear that attempts to negotiate an agreement leading to the restoration of the devolved institutions has failed,” said the RCN Director in NI.

“Although we wish to see political leadership and accountability in Northern Ireland restored, nurses deeply resent the link that is being made between this and resolving the crisis in health care.

“Sorting out this crisis is a priority regardless of our political situation, which has been in disarray for the past three years.

We do not have another three years to wait.

“We wonder how much longer this inaction can continue before somebody, somewhere, can take a decision to rectify the problems we are facing?”