Members of the British Dietetic Association (BDA), working in Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSCNI) will join thousands of other workers in unprecedented strike action on Thursday, as a last resort for not receiving the pay award they are rightly owed.
Over 300 dietitians and support workers, representing all five trusts in Northern Ireland remain hopeful today’s talks between Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris and Stormont parties result in a positive resolution, however without one, the 24-hour strike will continue as planned.
Members are demanding they receive their long overdue public sector pay rise for 2023/2024 and a non-consolidated payment for 2022/2023, which they’ve been waiting to receive, as promised by the UK Government. This hasn’t been possible due to the lack of a functioning executive and assembly.
The dietetic workforce in Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in the consultative ballot from the BDA Trade Union in December, with 91.2% taking the tough decision.
Annette Mansell-Green, Director of Trade Union and Public Affairs at the BDA says, “Whilst strike action is a last resort and not one, we or our members take lightly, we are left with no alternative as the demands of our members are not being heard by the politicians who could implement the pay award.
“Our members are being unfairly treated as a result of political instability in Northern Ireland, made worse by the fact the money has been offered and should be available to them, like their colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales and they are extremely frustrated at constantly being left behind.
“Members are prepared to lose a day’s pay because they feel so strongly about the way they are being treated. Our HSCNI workforce deserve better.”
The BDA Trade Union is grateful for the support of the Chief Executives of Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care Trusts who have acknowledged the need for staff to be properly rewarded for their work in a statement issued this week.
Annette adds, “The HSCNI workforce is incredibly dedicated and continues to go above and beyond to care for patients. They do this day in day out despite struggling to make ends meet with the cost-of-living crisis and their pay falling below inflation year on year. We’re incredibly appreciative to have the public support of the trusts and for their recognition of the essential work their colleagues do in very difficult circumstances.”
This is the first time in the BDA Trade Union’s long history that strike action will go ahead because of pay.
The union awaits the outcome of today’s talks.