The UNISON, Unite and RCN health trade unions have voted to approve a new agreement on pay and staffing in Northern Ireland. The three unions were involved in various forms of industrial action at the end of last year, including the first full strike action in the RCN's history. The unions now have agreement that pay rates in Northern Ireland will be increased to be in line with those in England and measures will be discussed to increase staffing. A fourth union NIPSA did not support the pay deal but recognises that there was a majority vote in favour. In the meantime it is continuing its campaign around staffing levels, particularly in social services.
Agreement on pay and staffing in Northern Ireland
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The FOA public services union is calling on the government and municipalities to take urgent action to tackle staffing shortages in eldercare. A recent survey found that three out of four local authorities didn't have enough eldercare staff and the situation is set to deteriorate as many workers retire. The sector needs around 13000 new recruits every year but the level is currently half that. The union says that employers use a lot of part-time work to save money and while many employees in the sector actually want to work full time. There is also a question of higher pay for young workers.