UK News

150,000 public sector workers walk out in Northern Ireland’s biggest strike in recent history | UK News

An estimated 150,000 public sector workers have taken part in the biggest strike in Northern Ireland’s recent history, with trade unions warning action will escalate if their pay demands are not met.

Pay parity with the rest of the UK is the core issue for workers angry at a widening wage gap and political paralysis.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has been urged to release funding to make delayed pay awards in the absence of the devolved government at Stormont, but he has refused, saying the matter is a devolved one.

From early morning, striking workers braved sub-zero temperatures to gather at picket lines across Northern Ireland. Schools were shut and a greatly reduced health service was operational as teachers, nurses and support staff joined the protest.

Public transport was cancelled and many roads were not gritted.

Striking workers gathered at Stormont and the Northern Ireland Office headquarters in Belfast city centre.

Speaking at Stormont, Carmel Gates, general secretary of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) trade union, said workers were being used as a “political pawn” by the Northern Ireland secretary.

She said: “It shows the anger of public sector workers who haven’t had a decent pay rise in more than 10 years. Now we believe we are being used as a political pawn in a game by the secretary of state.”

Public sector workers in Northern Ireland have not received pay raises given to counterparts elsewhere in the UK, due to the ongoing political impasse at Stormont.

The UK government has offered a financial package worth more than £3bn to accompany the return of a devolved executive in Belfast, but Mr Heaton-Harris says it is conditional on the return of Stormont, and that he cannot release the money – including almost £600m to address pay – unless this happens.

There has been no power-sharing government in Northern Ireland for almost two years due to a DUP boycott of the institutions in protest at…

More information about this article Read More
This notice was published: 2024-01-18 18:27:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *