SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has welcomed news that progress is being made to resolve the controversial payroll mess for thousands of Western Trust staff which, in some cases, he says has been dragging on for more than a year.
Mr Ramsey was speaking after health minister Edwin Poots confirmed the payroll records for 3,934 staff are currently being reviewed to determine whether the staff are due to receive any arrears (back pay).
Mr Ramsey said: “I very much welcome this news, because this saga has been dragging on and, in some cases, for more than a year. That is totally unacceptable.
“However, I am somewhat heartened the minister has confirmed there is movement on the issue which has affected a range of staff groups, in addition to auxiliary and portering staff. The minister assures me the vast majority of auxiliary and portering staff have had their entitlements paid to them, with approximately 50 calculations outstanding for these staff.
“Edwin Poots says the Trust is working to complete this work and to make the payments to staff as soon as possible, and I certainly hope this is the case. People rely on their monthly wages to pay bills. If they fall behind that can impact their credit rating, and do irreparable long term damage.
“This sorry saga has caused a lot of stress for all those affected, and I’ve heard that first hand from workers who have told me of their deep concerns. People work hard and should not have to face the type of anxiety this saga has inflicted upon them.”
Mr Ramsey said the minister assured that efforts are being made to resolve the recent difficulties facing the payroll system, and a range of remedial actions have been taken by both organisations to rectify the problems. I certainly hope this is the case and such a mess isn’t repeated. What happened is unacceptable, as is the length of time it has taken to sort it out. It is simply not good enough and lessons must be learned.”