Rt. Hon Julian Smith MP
Secretary of State for NI
Northern Ireland Office
Belfast BT4 3SH
17th December 2019
RE: PAY PARITY FOR HEALTH WORKERS
We the undersigned wish to make clear our collective frustration at the failure to resolve the pay dispute affecting workers in the Health Service, and our collective support for the restoration of pay parity.
In our view this statement, making clear that any Health and Finance Ministers in any future Northern Ireland Executive formed before 13 January 2020 would restore pay parity, provides cover for you as Secretary of State to intervene to ensure that pay parity is restored independently of the ongoing talks to restore the Executive. Given the range of issues involved it would be neither fair nor right to make resolution of this pay dispute, affecting not only workers but also patients, subject to separate ongoing talks aimed at restoring the devolved institutions.
Therefore, we collectively urge you to state that you now have the flexibility to intervene and to state clearly and publicly that, regardless of the position on 13 January 2020, pay parity will be restored and the pay dispute thus resolved. This will provide assurance both to health workers about how much they are valued and also to patients awaiting vital treatment that there will be no further strike action.
Naomi Long MEP, Leader of the Alliance Party
Colum Eastwood MP, Leader of the SDLP
Steve Aiken OBE MLA, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
Michelle O’Neill MLA, Leas Uachtarán Shinn Féin
Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party