Thousands of health and education workers took strike actionyesterday across the North in protest against Budget cuts in the public service. The 24 hour strike action, the first in over 30 years involves all health workers except doctors, and some school staff.
Unison regional secretary Patricia McKeown said: "The workers are facing some of the worst cuts in their history. "They have not been well treated or well served by the Government and that is contemptible….“The people of Northern Ireland did not cause this financial crisis. Health and Education workers did not cause it. Patients, social services clients and school children did not cause it. They should not be the target of the deepest cuts in our history. We are taking one day of action to help save our future. We are standing up to protect services and jobs. Please stand with us.”
Frontline cuts are being made over a four year period. The education budget is facing a shortfall of £300 million over four years, while health is facing cuts of £2.3 billion. Over 1,000 minor operations have been postponed, but workers are still providing critical cover in emergency cases.
The strike action is an important step forward in building momentum and confidence for the forthcoming 30th November strike involving workers across the UK on the issue of pension cuts.
We are all affected in someway by these cuts in essential social services and the struggle of the public sector workers is the struggle of everyone. We need to build a mass movement against the cuts involving all workers and the entire community fostering a culture of direct action and solidarity based on rank and file control.