Healthcare workers across NI begin industrial action

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By Michael McHugh, PA

Members of Northern Ireland's largest health workers union have gone on strike over pay and staffing levels.

Industrial action took place across the country.

Protests were held at Antrim Area Hospital, the City Hospital and the Ulster Hospital among others.

Joe McCusker, Unison regional organiser, said they had received a lot of support.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The first phase of industrial action is planned to run to December 18. <a href="https://t.co/g95cp8vxrl">https://t.co/g95cp8vxrl</a></p>&mdash; Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) <a href="https://twitter.com/qnewsdesk/status/1198947827407302656?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 25, 2019</a></blockquote>
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He said: "We are saddened by the fact that the Department of Health and employers are not doing enough for them, but they are determined in their campaign for pay justice to be paid the same as anyone else in the UK."

He said the department should go and find the money, from the department of finance, the Treasury or save cash on agency spending.

He said the action was taken over pay parity with the rest of the UK, since workers are paid less in Northern Ireland.

He added: "Our workers are seeking pay justice, to be paid the same as their colleagues."

The first phase of industrial action will run from November 25 to December 18. The second will run to March 2020.

The University and College Union (UCU) also took action on Monday.

ICTU assistant general secretary Owen Reidy said: "They are saying they have had enough.

"They are demanding pay justice, they are standing up for their patients just as you are standing up for your students. Always remember that you are not on your own."

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