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Hospital staff protest over 'gap in wages'

STAFF at the South West Acute Hospital will be sending a stark message to politicians seeking re-election when they take to the picket line this lunchtime (Wednesday) in a row over pay.
Members of the Omagh and Fermanagh Branch of UNISON will engage in a one hour work stoppage at 12.30 at SWAH and the Tyrone County Hospital, calling on MLAs to implement “a real living without delay”. NI members of UNISON’s Health Committee say they want to send a message to the politicians that issues around pay gaps must be addressed. It comes after Fermanagh and Omagh District Council last month bowed to pressure from the Fermanagh Council of Trade Unions and the Unite union by becoming a Living Wage employer. UNISON Omagh and Fermanagh’s branch secretary Jill Weir told the Herald that whatever the outcome of the upcoming election and regardless of whoever is in power, health workers are not prepared to be ignored or underpaid.
“We have fallen behind all other parts of the NHS on our pay bands. Scotland and Wales have signed up to be ‘real living wage ‘employers and we are asking the same in Nothern Ireland. Our local council has also pledged to now become living wage employers.”
Ms Weir added that recruitment and retention of trained and committed staff depends on maintaining decent pay in the health service. “The pay gap in Northern Ireland is growing every year and workers are losing out. UNISON members will not accept this any longer. We want to send a strong reminder to our politicians that this issue has not gone away and we will be holding them to account on this issue. Any new Executive will have a lot to contend with, but a demoralised undervalued and underpaid health workforce is a priority that needs to be addressed urgently. The commitment and dedication of those who deliver health care for our people, deserves nothing less than decent pay,” she added. 

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