The Ulster Unionist Party has reiterated its call for nurses in Northern Ireland to be awarded the 1% increase in pay after the recommendation of the Independent Pay Review Body.
Leader Robin Swann MLA has today written to other Party Leaders asking that, in the ongoing absence of an Executive, the Northern Ireland Civil Service is instructed to immediately implement the pay rise.
Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA said:
“The Ulster Unionist Party fully supports nurses being awarded the recommended 1% pay rise. Such a rise wouldn’t be excessive, it wouldn’t be unique and it wouldn’t be undeliverable. In fact, it would be a very modest and below inflationary increase.
“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 be any less thought-off than their colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales. Yet that is exactly what is happening.
“In previous years when the Independent Pay Review Body recommended a 1% increase here it was often ignored, disregarded or deliberately delayed. It was outrageous and made a mockery of the so-called independence and authority of the recommendation.
“It is now even more ridiculous that in the absence of a functioning Executive the 1% rise continues to be delayed.
“Nurses here are working under totally unprecedented pressure in circumstances that are only continuing to get worse. There needs to be an immediate recognition that unless a decision is taken quickly on this, the problem of nursing vacancies will only continue to get worse.
“I wrote to the Head of this Civil Service earlier this month urging him to ensure that nursing staff here received the 1% pay increase recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body for 2017/18, immediately.
“There is now an entire list of examples when local Civil Servants have taken major or strategic decisions locally, such as approving the Hightown Incinerator and the commencement of works on the A5 road. There is simply no reason why this 1% pay increase cannot be implemented.”