Health workers are to picket today outside Craigavon Hospital in protest at a plan to change workers’ pay from weekly to monthly pay.
The workers affected are mostly low paid women workers, said UNISON which is organising today’s picket which will take place between noon and 2pm.
UNISON said it is opposing the move which adversely impacts on its lowest paid members and disproportionately hits women workers.
The big impact falls on health service cleaners; home care workers and health catering staff – all vital members of the front line team.
John Creaney Acting Branch Secretary for Unison Craigavon Hospitals Branch said that Business Services Organisation is proposing to move all weekly and fortnightly paid staff to monthly pay.
“These are the lowest paid staff in the trust who will be hit the hardest. With this proposed payment plan it will affect their leave payments, and substantially affect their take home pay making them worse of whilst money is being made effectively by Business Services Organisation.
“There is a one year interest free loan offered to staff to help cover this new payment method but due to the effective cut in special duty for weekend’s workers and night staff this will be hard for them to pay back and take the cut in pay. These staff are not on big money and Business Services Organisation is targeting the hardest workers in the health service. I don’t think that staff should have to take a type of pay cut under the current financial pressures that we all face.
“When this comes into effect certain staff would be better off financially on benefits as to work. Surly this is not what the executive want at the minute more people to leave work to join the dole queue.
“Health Care staffs are valued less in Northern Ireland than any other part of the NHS.
“The two previous health ministers have declared with the recent decision to ignore the recommendation of the pay review body and instead impose a lesser increase to thousands and thousands of workers here.
“Another one off lump sum payment for the second year running of 1% which does not count towards your overtime rate, unsocial hours allowances, on call rates, and very importantly your pension, is far less than hard working staff deserve.
“Low morale and staff retention difficulties is spreading, not to mention the individual difficulties that families depending on their NHS jobs will experience as the cost of living, national insurance, pension continue to rise.
“We intend to take our fight for decent pay to the door of all MLAs. Our members will be mobilised to challenge all those seeking our VOTES in the coming weeks to meet our demand for decent pay.
“Unison will also be asking our members to consider demonstrating our determination by forms of industrial action. This can deliver a strong message to the employers that they too need to come off the fence and stand up for their workers.”