Thursday 18th January 2024 will be an unprecedented day in the history of the trade union movement in Northern Ireland. Trade unions across Health, Education, Transport, Civil Service and other sectors will be taking co-ordinated strike action to deal with the scandal of unpaid public sector pay increases. This action will be one of the biggest days of trade union industrial action ever, and its impact will be felt across the entirety of Northern Ireland.
NIPSA, as it is legally required to do, has formally notified the Belfast H&SC Trust that Branch 730 members are instructed to take strike action from 12.01am to 11.59pm on this date. This will be a strike for the duration of a ‘normal’ working day of 7.5/8 hours, for all NIPSA members.
Today (Wednesday) Branch 730 Reps met to discuss arrangements for next Thursday. Given the expected widespread disruption to schools and that there will be no public transport, the Branch has decided picket lines will only be at four locations (if this changes we will update members accordingly – identified Reps to follow).
Agreed pickets will be at:
- Belfast City Hospital, Lisburn Rd
- Knockbreda Health and Wellbeing Centre
- Shankill Health and Wellbeing Centre
- Beech Hall Health and Wellbeing Centre
All pickets will commence at 8.30am and will last for no more than 3 hours. There is then a major rally in Belfast City Centre (and other parts of the country) – information will follow.
The Branch is asking members to please show support to those on picket lines, even if you can only stay for a short time. Alternatively, if strike disruption or other circumstances mean this is problematic, Branch 730 is urging members to show solidarity by attending a NIPSA picket line more convenient to where you live. We also asking members to attend whatever rally is convenient for you.
Exemptions from Strike Action
Initial discussions have commenced with the Belfast H&SC Trust in relation to derogations for critical and emergency services. On the basis of these discussions the Branch can confirm there will be no derogation given for the vast majority of services. If services are closed on Christmas Day there will be no derogation given.
It is also important to point out, that even in circumstances where a derogation has been agreed this is a purely voluntary process. It does not take away the right of individuals to take strike action. Discussions with Branch representatives may need to take place in some areas with members where critical and emergency services may require the appropriate staff.
In all areas where derogations are granted, non-union staff or staff who choose not to strike, regardless of their normal workplace, will be the first consideration in terms of staff availability, as it is our position that these staff can be used to cover areas where staff are taking a stand by striking for pay equality.
NIPSA Branch 730 wishes to restate the fact that the need for this unprecedented industrial action is solely due to the fact that there has been no pay offer for 2023/24. Monies also due to our members, remain outstanding for the 2022/23 financial year. This means tens of thousands of public sector workers across Northern Ireland continue to be paid significantly less than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales.
We also need to emphasise that strike action on the 18th January could still be averted should pay offers be made by Government.
Finally, for any staff in your office who is not a member of NIPSA, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send out a NIPSA membership form.
Solidarity is strength. Strike on the 18th January. Attend picket lines. Attend the rally.
On Behalf of NIPSA Branch 730