September 2023 Update

After a summer with no breakthrough on pay and little movement on safe staffing,
and where HSC Workers are now thousands of pounds behind their Agenda for
Change counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales, NIPSA has no choice but to
call members to take industrial action on the 21 st and 22 nd of September.  Strike
action proposed for the 22 nd of September will also include NIPSA members working
in the Civil Service, as they also pursue a pay award.  The Branch want members to
attend picket lines that we will identify in a forthcoming communication.

Current Scenario
Despite many promises, despite much understanding of the situation along with tea
and sympathy, no trade union in the Health Service has received any pay offer for
2023/2024, and there has been no offer made of any one off payments for
2022/2023 pay year.  In fact we say, at this moment, there is no prospect of a pay

We are now at a farcical level of political game playing from the Secretary of State,
local political parties and the DOH on HSC pay.  There is zero comfort for HSC
workers in senior politicians or DOH officials saying they would pay Health Workers
a pay increase if only they had the money and/or the authority. 

A punishment budget from the Secretary Of State, because there is no functioning
Executive, and deliberately using overdue pay awards to apply pressure to the
political parties to have devolution restored, will not pay the bills for HSC Workers!
Nor will it address massive shortages across the workforce.

Pay differentials will also no doubt impact on the HSC’s ability to recruit and retain
staff.  As we posted on our Facebook page and used as an example, here is the
current difference for AFC staff across the UK for pay bands 6 and 3.

Band 6 – Point 1:
NI – £33, 306
Eng – £35, 392
Wal – £35, 992
Sco – £37, 831

Band 6 – Top of pay band:
NI – £40, 588
Eng – £42, 618
Wal – £43, 257
Sco – £ 46, 100

Band 3 – Point 1:
NI – £21, 730
Eng – £22, 816
Wal – £23, 159
Sco – £25, 468

B3 – Top of Pay Band:
NI – £23, 177
Eng – £24, 336
Wal – £24, 701
Sco – £27, 486

This is without even considering pay differences with the Republic of Ireland, where
many workers are choosing to go to because pay is very significantly higher.
NIPSA, under the auspices of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, has no choice but
to call for workers unity, and to use our industrial strength and fight back.

Action Short of Strike Action on Thursday 21 st September
NIPSA is instructing all members to withdraw from using their personal vehicle for
Trust business except in emergency situations i.e. provide essential medical care,
respond to an emergency adult safeguarding issue or a child protection issue that
requires an immediate response etc. on Thursday 21 st September.  This means that
members should not use their cars for the routine visiting of clients, contact
arrangements, training, attendance at a meeting etc. where doing so means using
your car for Trust business.

Strike Action on Friday 22 nd September
NIPSA will serve legal notice on behalf of Nipsa Branch 730 to the Belfast H&SC
Trust and NI Blood Transfusion Service that it is instructing its members to take
strike action from 12.01am to 11.59pm on Friday 22 nd September, normally 8 hours
per shift, which for many workers will be a full day. If your designated place of work
or department is closed on Christmas Day, then we are instructing you to take strike

Some derogations will be agreed between the Branch and the Trust in relation to
emergency services and residential services.  Agreed derogation does not take away
your right to take strike action, but we may need to speak to members in certain
areas to ensure sufficient staffing is in place and/or cover is available.

What NIPSA is asking for
While we are conscious that health service pay is settled in England, Scotland and
Wales for 22/23 and 23/24, NIPSA remains focused on its objective on getting the
best pay deal for HSC members at the earliest opportunity.  We want an overall pay
offer that gives us:

  • Parity plus on the English deal, more closely aligned to the pay in Scotland
  • Resolution on mileage rates for HSC workers taking into account the
    integrated nature of health and social care in Northern Ireland
  • A clear workforce plan to fill vacant posts, create career pathways, make jobs
    doable and workloads safe.

NIPSA is also calling on the Secretary of State and the political parties to commit to the immediate restitution of all monies lost as result of strike action taken by HSC workers, going right back to December 2022. 

This is not a dispute any HSC worker wanted, it was one we were forced into both
because of a local political mess and a Government hell bent on punishing working
people.  Fair pay at time of record cost of living pressures and political stalemate at a
time when HSC workers have and continue to work through the biggest crisis our
health and social care system has ever faced, cannot be seen as a begging bowl
wanting more
.  It is a basic and honourable demand that must be met.

Support all action short of strike action (ASOSA).  Support all strike action.  Attend
picket lines. Unity is powerful.  Support the action on the 21 st and 22 nd September.