Pharmacy department staff at the South West Acute Hospital took strike action this morning (December 2) over safe staffing levels and pay parity.

Represented by their union UNISON, the health staff stood by the roadside entrance to the hospital site on the cold December morning from 8am to 12noon. Many of the strikers waved flags whilst others brandished UNISON signs which stated: "Pay parity for Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Workers. We will not be left behind! Striking for safe staffing levels."

Workers represented by UNISON voted overwhelmingly in early November to take action as health staff in Northern Ireland are paid less than their colleagues in Britain.

It is understood that strike action at the South West Acute Hospital will continue over the next couple of weeks as specific groups of health staff take a stand.