SDLP leader Colum Eastwood urges immediate restoration of Stormont to secured fair pay deal for health workers

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has called for the immediate restoration of devolution in order to deliver a fair pay deal for health workers.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 11:09 am
Colum Eastwood.

He said that restoring pay parity for health service staff must be a political priority and stated that the SDLP had previously voted against budgets which breached parity.

He said: “Our health service staff are at breaking point, they are telling us that the conditions they’re forced to work in are inadequate and unsafe for patients. At what point do we stop nodding our heads in agreement and start acting to deliver the radical programme for change that they need?

“The only thing keeping our health service running in the absence of adequate resources and in the absence of strategic political direction is the immense burden that health service staff have taken upon themselves to make it work."

Mr. Eastwood who is contesting the Westminster election in his home constituency of Foyle said everyone in the North was indebted to the local health workers who are currently engaged in industrial action over pay.

"There isn’t a family across the North that hasn’t experienced first hand how our nurses and other front line staff go far beyond their basic duties for every patient, working themselves to the point of exhaustion to deliver the best standard of care.

“The SDLP will support pay parity for our nurses. We voted against budgets that breached this principle and argued that successive Executive budgets were insufficient. Parties need to put their own interests aside and deliver for our health service. This is a time for leadership.”