October 22: Unite lead officer in Northern Ireland for the health sector, Kevin McAdam called on new Health Minister, Jim Wells, to move quickly to pull Health and Social Care workers out of the poverty trap.
“Department figures show that 1,368 of its workforce – 1,133 staff and 235 home-helps – are paid below the Living Wage threshold, currently set at £7.65 per hour.
“These figures indicate that the problem of poverty pay among Healthcare workers and staff would be addressed for less than three-quarters of a million pounds. This is a relatively insignificant cost relative to the size of the HSC NI budget which is more than £4 billion but would make a huge impact to the families of those living on low pay.
“There is no excuse why the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety should not lead the way in becoming a fully accredited Living Wage employer.
“Taken in tandem with the Minister meeting the 1% cost of living increase recommended by the Independent Pay Body, this move would resolve the pay dispute currently disrupting Northern Ireland’s Health Service.”