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Health strikes: NI unions suspend industrial action

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Northern Ireland health workers' unions have suspended strike action following talks with the Department of Health.Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) staged industrial action in protest over pay and staffing.RCN members were due to strike again on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week.The health minister, Robin Swann, said the news would "be welcomed by many, not least by patients and of course staff who took industrial action with a very heavy heart".On Tuesday, unions had a "positive" meeting the health minister, who offered
NIPSA has said it is not happy with the deal.
Health unions to consider ?30m pay offer
Ms Cullen said it has been a "long and difficult road" for nurses
Anne Speed, Unison's head of bargaining, said the union will ballot its members with a recommendation to accept the agreement. Pat Cullen, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, said the strikes have "been a long and difficult road for nurses in Northern Ireland"."Following the unprecedented decision to take strike action, our members finally have something concrete to consider in relation to both the restoration of pay parity and safe staffing," she said.Talks between senior union officials and the Department of Health lasted most of Wednesday.
Ms Speed raised said the union will now ballot its members on the agreement
Mr Swann welcomed said it had been "a very difficult time". "I want to again pay a heartfelt tribute to our nurses and other health workers and the great work they do," he said."Only yesterday, we saw figures showing that the number of compliments in our health service far outnumbers the number of complaints. "This illustrates the great health care that is provided day and daily across Northern Ireland, despite all the serious problems facing the system. I recognise, of course, that there is still a lot of work to be done."Previously, Mr Swann gave a commitment to meet the unions demands for pay parity after ?30m of additional funding was identified from future funds. An agreement around how the department would implement the necessary processes to increase the number of staff working across the health and social care service is yet to be agreed.As a result of the suspension, the five health trusts will not have to proceed with cancelling appointments and procedures next week. Another positive move is that workers will not lose further pay.
'Deeply concerned'
But the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) said it is not happy with how the negotiations were handled. The BBC understands that it will not be calling off its industrial action. A source said that the union was deeply concerned about how the conduct of the negotiations and the amount of money that has been promised in the pay deal.
Royal College of Nursing
NI Health
NI nurses strike
Nursing
Strike action
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