First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill has written to the Royal College of Nursing to state her continued support for fair pay rises and safe working conditions for all health and social care staff.
And the Sinn Féin Leas-Uachtarán made it clear that in the absence of a functioning Executive that the British Secretary of State should immediately implement fair pay rises for all public service workers.
Michelle O’Neill said:
“I extend New Year greetings and solidarity to all the members of the RCN.
“I also understand their frustration as they continue to play such an incredible and difficult role within our health and social care system despite the current huge winter pressures currently facing staff.
“As First Minister designate, I am committed to getting an Executive established so we can get on with dealing with the challenges facing health and social care. That includes pay and conditions, tackling lengthy waiting lists, recruiting more doctors and nurses and funding vital health and other essential public services.
“As pressure mounts again this week on Accident and Emergency services I once again urge the DUP to end its damaging blockade and get back to work around the Executive table.
“We have also made clear that in the absence of an Executive that the British Secretary of State should move immediately to implement fair pay rises for all health and social care staff and public service workers.
“There should be no more delays.
“We have also told the British Government that it must deliver proper investment to put any new Executive on a stable financial footing because our public services simply cannot continue to withstand the impact of repeated Tory budget cuts.
“I reiterate Sinn Féin’s commitment to working with the RCN to address the very real concerns of nurses who are facing unprecedented pressures and the need to see the workforce issues within the system properly addressed.”