Pay offer reinforces need for functioning and locally-accountable Executive
Northern Ireland health and social care workers paid the least of any UK region
March 28th: Kevin McAdam, Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for the union’s workers in the Healthcare sector has blasted the latest pay recommendation made by the Independent Pay Body for UK NHS workers:
“This pay recommendation is woefully inadequate and the concerning thing is that this is likely now to form the baseline for pay offers made in all parts of the UK, including Northern Ireland.
“A one percent pay increase would be nothing less than an insult at a time when inflation has risen sharply as a result of the Brexit devaluation. The retail price inflation measure now stands at 3.2%, meaning that the independent pay body is recommending a 2.2% reduction in the standard of living of dedicated healthcare workers. With inflation set to rise even further in coming months this situation is only likely to get worse.
“Healthcare workers in Northern Ireland are already the lowest paid in the UK. Below inflation pay increases, and the failure of previous Health Ministers to even meet past recommendations by the Independent Pay Body, has led to the situation where healthcare workers have seen their incomes fall up to 17% in real terms over the past eight years.
“Such downward pay pressures are untenable in the long-term and has already resulted in the loss of critical healthcare staff to other parts of the UK and overseas, impacting the provision of local HSC services. These staffing pressures will be further exacerbated by the impact of Brexit in discouraging overseas staff from coming here to work in the NHS.
“The low-pay challenge facing Northern Ireland’s health and social care workers exemplifies why we need a functioning Executive. We need locally-accountable Ministers to make decisions to address the real challenges facing our HSC to guarantee its long-term sustainability”, Mr McAdam concluded.