Ulster Unionist Councillor William McCandless has called on the Health Minister to end his ‘unnecessary and unbefitting battle with nurses’. The Royal College of Nursing are currently balloting their members for potential industrial action given the refusal of Minister Simon Hamilton to grant them their recommended basic 1% pay rise.
William McCandless said:
“The Ulster Unionist Party fully supports nurses being awarded the recommended 1% pay rise. It’s a modest and below inflationary increase and I believe it is the least we could do for one of the most important and essential workforces that we have.
“Workers in the NHS in Northern Ireland are now the poorest paid across the entire UK. An experienced staff nurse in Northern Ireland is now paid £279 a year less than in England and £561 a year less than in Scotland. Given our medical staff in Northern Ireland are signed up to the NHS’s wider UK terms and conditions, they shouldn’t be treated any worse or any less thought-off than their colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales.
“Given that our medical staff in Northern Ireland are signed up to the NHS’s wider UK terms and conditions, when the Independent Pay Review Body recommends a 1% increase, it should be implemented.
“Disappointingly however the DUP last week decided to oppose this recommendation and therefore it has only been granted for some workers. That was not all that surprising however given only 2 of the 38 DUP MLAs said they were in favour of the 1% increase for those in the nursing professions. Perhaps the DUP Health Minister could explain to us why he and approximately 90% of his colleagues are not in favour of awarding the pay rise?”