Northern Ireland

Union and business leaders give their views on Wednesday's strike action

Union and business leaders give their view on the most comprehensive day of industrial action in Northern Ireland's recent history.

Peter Bunting, Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

"Tens of thousands of public servants have voted to take industrial action because they refuse to have their pensions, wages and working conditions sacrificed to pay for the debt run up by greedy and incompetent bank bosses.

"The 3.2% additional tax on public sector workers the government wish to impose, means billions of pounds not being spent in the local economy.

"Taking cash out of the pockets of hard-working families will only mean less spending in local shops.

"Public servants will be sacrificing a day's pay on Wednesday in order to stop the Tories lifting a day's pay from their pockets every month, forever.

"They are sacrificing that day's wage for every worker in Northern Ireland, especially service workers in the private sector. Cutting welfare will have exactly the same effect on the private sector.

"That the Secretary of State (Owen Paterson) and his local supporters cannot see that sacrifice as brave and noble, speaks volumes about his view of the world."

Brian Campfield, Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA)

"The government and the assembly should have engaged in a serious process of consultation with the trade unions over the planned changes to the pension schemes.

"Instead the government itself launched its first strike on public sector pensions when it unilaterally and without any consultation with pensioners or unions changed the inflation measure for uprating public sector pensions from April this year.

"This change reduced the value of public sector pensions by a minimum of 15% over the lifetime of a public service pensioner."

"The inconvenience caused by Wednesday's action pails into insignificance against the destruction of the economy and jobs caused by the government's economic policies and its deficit reduction measures."

Maeve Hully, Patient and Client Council

"Patients are worried about impact of strike on services.

"We know from the many conversations we have had with patients, that disruption to services can have had a serious detriment on their quality of life; affecting both their physical and mental well being.

"Health and social care organisations need to provide information to people on what services are affected by strike action and where they should go to access services."

Nigel Smyth, Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

"Wednesday's strikes will cause untold misery for tens of thousands of people in Northern Ireland.

"Working parents will be faced with the challenge of finding alternative childcare, often at additional cost, and stand-still on our public transport network will grind our busy employment hubs all round the province to a halt, heaping more pressure on already-beleaguered workers.

"Businesses who depend on their employees will also take a hit, losing out countless productive hours and deferring valuable activity from the core trade that which pays people's wages and pumps money into our economy.

"Despite what they've been told by their union bosses, the Hutton review is the latest in a vast pool of evidence that clearly shows public sector pensions to be unaffordable and unfair to the taxpayers who cover them."

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