Enough is enough say workers

Unite members on strike at Craigavon Hospital.
Unite members on strike at Craigavon Hospital.

Hospital workers at Craigavon took industrial action on Monday to support their case for a pay rise.

The strike, which affected non-urgent services, took place between 12noon and 2.30pm on Monday.

Members of union Unite joined a picket outside the hospital entrance to send out the message, ‘Enough is enough’. Unite claim NHS pay has been cut by 12 to 15% since 2010.

Des Gourley, Pharmicist at Craigavon Hospital and Unite member said: “The demand on the health service is increasing. Cuts are being made and you’re told you have to work harder then you’re told it’s your fault if patients are getting a poor service.”

Striking workers claimed staff are leaving and not being replaced and that no cover was being put in place for maternity leave.

“There needs to be three people leaving before they’ll replace one,” said one Unite member.

An independent body has recommended a 1% pay rise across the board for hospital staff.

In England the government has given a 1% pay rise, but not for those who get automatic rises.

In Scotland, a 1% pay rise was given to everyone, while no decision has been made in Northern Ireland.

Patricia McKeown, regional secretary of Unison, said thousands more workers are expected to vote on strike action.

“Our people are facing a stark fifth year of pay freeze and that is having a very adverse impact, particularly on the lowest paid of health workers,” she told a rally at Stormont on Monday.