People Before Profit Cllr Eamon McCann said,
“Workers in the Community and Voluntary sector have stayed on the frontline throughout the pandemic protecting the vulnerable and making sure crucial services continue.
Despite the essential role these workers play and the increasing complexity of their jobs, the entire sector is blighted with low pay and poor working conditions. This has to change.
The Derry and Strabane Council full meeting unanimously agreed to support People Before Profit’s proposal tonight to back the UNISON Community Branch campaign for all frontline Community and Voluntary sector workers to be recognised for the vital contribution they made during the COVID-19 pandemic – in delivering vital services to local people. Services which protected at risk individuals and families, providing a buffer for already disadvantaged working class communities, keeping local people safe and connected.
As agreed in the motion, the Council will write to the Department for Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey seeking clarification on whether C&V sector workers within her department will also receive a £500 recognition payment, which has already been announced for workers in health and social care.
This step won’t address the needed transformation of pay and conditions for workers in this sector but it will at least act as an acknowledgement of their crucial role. The Stormont Executive needs to begin to act on the commitments in New Decade New Approach to strengthen workers rights and end poverty pay.