17 May 2022

Demands of health workers must be heard "loud and clear" by Stormont

Demands of health workers must be heard "loud and clear" by Stormont

Cllr Shaun Harkin: "We need a new civil rights type movement for workers rights, patient rights and to save our Health Service."

Stormont must hear the demands of health workers “loud and clear” says People Before Profit Councillor, Shaun Harkin.

A protest rally at Stormont organised by trade union, UNISON, called for improved working conditions and wages within the Health Service.

With the DUP refusing to participate in the newly-elected Executive over the Northern Ireland Protocol, their stance has been widely criticised given the Assembly is paralysed in terms of being able to cut hospital waiting lists for operations and appointments for patients.

Cllr Harkin, who represents the Foyleside ward, insisted that people must continue to put pressure on both the DUP and the other elected parties to end the state of limbo regarding a new Executive.

He said: “The Stormont Executive and Assembly is in limbo because the DUP disgracefully refuse to respect the democratic mandate of the electorate.

“However, no one should wait to press for their demands for change.

“People Before Profit fully backs UNISON members taking their campaign for real pay rises, vastly improved mileage reimbursement rates, safe staffing, urgent investment to cut waiting lists and an end to privatisation of health service to Stormont

“Re-elected MLAs need to hear these demands loud and clear. There is no time to waste.

“Disgracefully, the five Executive parties imposed a Tory real terms pay cut on health and social care workers during the cost of living crisis.

“This has not gained much attention from the mainstream media but this betrayal, after two years of clapping health worker heroics, outraged health and social care workers.

“The big parties pretend they know nothing about the privatisation of large chunks of health care provision but they have cosy relationships with the corporations making huge profits at the expense of reduced funding for the health service.

“The agreed economic strategy of the five Executive parties for nearly two decades has been running down public services to promote privatisation, tax cuts for big corporations and wage cuts for workers.

“It has produced a complete disaster for the vast majority of people but filled the bank accounts of elites.

“Any new programme for government must break from privatisation and the sustained attack on pay and terms for health and social care workers that the Executive has been united in pursuing for two decades.

“The 2019 united strike by health and social care unions accomplished more than decades of promises by the five Executive parties.

“It's once again clear that people power action is going to be the key for workers in the public and private healthcare sectors winning cost of living pay increases.

“The same is true for dramatically reducing waiting lists and saving the health service. These fights are all linked.

“We need a new civil rights type movement for workers rights, patient rights and to save our Health Service.

“This movement will unite our communities and is urgent in the face of Stormont limbo and division.”

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