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Staggering of Healthcare pay awards hits lowest paid hardest

26 April, 2007

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Carál Ní has said that the staggering of the pay award for healthcare professionals by the British Government will hit those being paid the lowest wages hardest.

Ms Ní Chuilin called for the British government to deliver on its 2.5% pay rise for nurses immediately rather than it being done in stages and that the pay increase still falls short of level of pay nurses should receive.

Ms Ní Chuilin said:

"Our nursing staff and other low paid healthcare professionals are being faced with the difficult decision about whether or not they have to take industrial action over pay. Nurses here are rightly angered that their pay increase is getting staggered over six months and many feel that industrial action may be the only way of getting this issue resolved.

"Nurses in the North of Ireland, Wales and England will receive a pay rise of 1.5% this month but will have to wait until November to receive the additional 1%, while at the same time their colleagues in Scotland will get the full pay rise immediately. Even with the rise in pay it still falls short of inflation which has rose to 3.1 in March. That increase is expected to trigger a further rise in interest rates which will hit many workers in the health service.

"In March it was revealed that the number of people working in the NHS fell by 11,000 in the last quarter of 2006. If workers feel they are not getting fair and equal pay many others will follow and at the same time it will put off potential students from taking up careers in the health service. We cannot allow that to continue to happen.

"Nurses and workers throughout the health services provide care equitably and efficiently to all who need it. They at the frontline of our health services delivering care to patients in difficult and trying circumstances they should not have to worry about getting fair rates of pay." ENDS

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