Health unions have slammed a proposed one per cent pay increase for workers as “woefully inadequate” and “paltry”.
Both Unite and Unison said a recommendation by the NHS Pay Review Body that workers should receive a one per cent hike from April 1, 2017, was derisory.
Kevin McAdam, Unite Regional Officer, said: “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 per cent, meaning that the independent pay body is recommending a 2.2 per cent 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.”
Anne Speed, Head of Bargaining and Representation at Unison said: “This paltry increase will not end the pay deficit and NI workers will continue to be the lowest paid.
“While the recommendation expressed concern regarding staff shortages and recognised the negative impact of a Tory created four year pay cap of one per cent it made no concrete suggestions to tackle the crisis. The insecurity now felt by many overseas workers in the NHS further compounds this problem’.
“Inflation has increased with the Brexit inspired devaluation while the value of health workers pay has decreased by 17 per cent over the last eight years.
“Health staff in Northern Ireland have the added problem of a collapse in our power sharing devolved government. While we expect the application of the new legal minimum wage to raise the lowest pay band from £7.38 to £7.50. There maybe a significant delay in payment of the one per cent as all public sector pay was to be approved by the Executive.”