Ulster Unionist MLA Michael McGimpsey has called on the DUP and the Party’s Health Minister to explain why only 2 of their 38 MLAs believe local nurses deserve the recommended 1% basic pay rise. Michael McGimpsey has also urged Simon Hamilton to make a U-turn and end his Party’s unnecessary battle with local nurses.
The South Belfast MLA said:
“Nurses and our other health workers are the backbone of the local NHS. Without them our hospitals and the wide array of care delivered in the community would simply not be able to cope. It is deeply regrettable however that bodies such as the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Nursing have been forced into the unprecedented position of having to take industrial action just to have their concerns heard.
“Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where nurses have not received a pay rise, meaning that they are now paid less than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales. Unfortunately however, rather than seeking to rectify the problem, the DUP conduct over recent weeks and months has been contradictory, illogical and shambolic.
“The Minister Simon Hamilton, instead of providing leadership and care to his nurses, has effectively gone to ground and has lost sight of the seriousness of the current situation regarding local nurses and their threat to take part in industrial action. Whilst several other prominent DUP MLAs have come out directly opposing the calls for our nurses to be awarded the basic 1% increase, their position is at odds with two others who broke ranks to speak in favour of nurses.
“A 1% pay rise after several years of underfunding is not excessive, especially when it is for a workforce as crucial as our local nurses. This miserly Minister that we have got at present is pushing nurses to their last resort. I just hope Simon Hamilton and the DUP eventually realise this and adopt a new attitude before it is too late.”