People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said,
“I’ve been contacted by health service workers upset their pay has been cut. Workers who’ve risked their lives to keep us safe from Covid-19 see this as a slap in the face by political representatives who’ve been cynically joining claps on Thursday nights. It’s also considered retaliation and punishment for taking strike action only months before the pandemic began.
Years of despicable treatment by the Stormont Executive forced health service workers onto picket lines at Altnagelvin Hospital, Gransha Hospital and across the North to demand equal pay and increased staffing levels. Now workers in bands 1, 2 and 3 – many of the lowest paid in the health service – who work unsocial hours have been told their pay has been cut.
Workers have been told the cut brings pay rates in line with England and Wales. This is outrageous. This isn’t why workers stood for days on picket lines in the rain and snow. It was never part of any negotiation with trade unions. This is an attempt to push through a blatant cut through stealth.
Health unions are demanding a response from Stormont Ministers and are demanding the decision is reversed immediately.
This is such a cynical action – the whole Executive needs to see it as their responsibility to address it immediately. The blame game by the Executive parties isn’t acceptable. They all – Sinn Féin, DUP, SDLP, UUP and Alliance – signed up to the commitments to health service workers in the New Decade, New Approach. It’s shocking that they’re prepared to rip these commitments up in the middle of the pandemic that’s made the importance of key workers so visible.
We are calling for the pay cut to be reversed immediately and for solidarity with all our essential workers.”