Nursing staff across Northern Ireland have once again joined picket lines.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Northern Ireland today commences the second day of strike action to demand urgent measures to address unsafe staffing levels and deliver pay parity with colleagues from across the UK.
Last month, RCN members working within Health and Social Care (HSC) services took strike action for the first time in the College’s 103-year history.
Throughout HSC there are almost 2,800 vacant nursing posts and the RCN reports that pay has fallen by 15% in real terms in recent years.
Nurses in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the UK.
Nursing staff from across Northern Ireland will join picket lines to again demand that measures be taken to address unsafe staffing levels and to deliver pay parity.
Left with no choice.
Pat Cullen, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland said: “For the second time in a matter of weeks we find ourselves in a position where our members have been left with no choice but to take strike action.”
“Nurses could not have been clearer over the past few months in relation to our demands for safe staffing and restoring pay parity with the rest of the UK and we have been talking to the Department of Health for months about these issues.
“We have written to several people at the Department of Health over the course of last year outlining our concerns about safe staffing and asking for a formal process to begin to address these serious concerns. It is therefore, surprising that the Department of Health issued a statement on Monday stating that dialogue could now begin – we have been asking for this for a long time.
“Today, our members in Northern Ireland are making clear to those in power that they and their patients will not be ignored. We all wish to see a rapid solution to this crisis. However, this will not be secured by trying to blame nurses for the consequences of the decisions made by those in power.”