Health workers are set to strike

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Strike scheduled for March 13| Education staff also taking part| Emergency department will be protected|

UNISON members voted by more than 90% to take industrial action on March 13 from midnight to midnight.

Ambulance staff, nurses, porters, laundry staff, support workers, lab technicians are just a few of the professions which will be taking part in the strike. It is thought that some elective surgery and the out-patients department may be affected.

However, John Creaney of Unison in Craigavon said there will be a fully functioning Emergency Department.

Pending approval from UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee, preparations will now take place for strike action.

UNISON members across the services are also preparing for other forms of ongoing industrial action including work to rule and selective action.

Mr Creaney, Unison branch chair for Craigavon hospital, said “Our 2,000 members are in a determined mood to take on the worst service cuts and job loss proposals we have ever seen. It is intolerable for government and public sector employers to extract further cuts from services already straining under the pressure of seven years of budget cuts.

“We are hearing strong determination to take action from groups such as nurses who are working under increasing pressure and in many cases unsafe staffing levels. We are witnessing the same determination from homecare workers who have been forced on to zero hours contracts, equally unsafe working practices and who are bedevilled by privatisation. In our schools everyone from the crossing patrols to the school meals staff, the school caretaking and cleaning staff and classroom assistants have borne the brunt of massive cuts in the schools’ budgets and are now facing more.

“This is the beginning of a fight back by public service workers. Hospitals will still be running a emergency service the day of strike action.”

A Trust spokesperson said: “The Southern Health and Social Care Trust will be working together with UNISON to ensure safe service provision during the strike action scheduled for March 13. We will be putting plans in place to minimise any major disruption in care and treatment to patients and clients.”