Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said it is unacceptable for nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers to be the victims of further political delay, with strike action pending later this week.
The South Belfast MLA was speaking ahead of planned strikes for Wednesday by the Royal College of Nursing, and Friday by healthcare members of the Unison union.
“I am fully supportive of the position taken by those who wish to see pay parity restored and conditions improved. In the context of a rising cost of living, their case is clear cut,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“The Executive and Assembly should be restored to put through the all-party agreement on pay in the health sector. We were told there were no red lines so it is unclear what the delay is.
“If for some reason parties have found redlines about which we did not previously know, then the Secretary of State should honour the all-party agreement. Health is far too important a subject to be held dangling as a carrot to try to encourage political progress. Leaving aside that such a tactic is immoral, it also plainly does not work given we still have to agreement on restoration of the institutions three weeks on from the letter signed by all party leaders agreeing to pay parity.
“With workers leaving the services and a vast array of other significant issues in health still not progressed, not least in mental health, it is long past time those playing political games were called out and the rest of us were able to get on with it in the interests of everyone in Northern Ireland.”