Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment and Workers Rights, Declan Kearney, has said that underpaid workers in the health system deserve the support of the community.
The South Antrim MLA was speaking after UNISON announced that its members had voted in support of industrial action to highlight the main issues of pay justice and safe staffing levels.
Declan Kearney said:
“The decision by UNISON members to take industrial action comes just days after the Royal College of Nursing made a similar announcement.
“There is a crisis within the health service in the north caused by Tory austerity, and which has resulted in workers, and patients, bearing the brunt of an ideologically driven agenda designed to run down the health service.
“Our health service workers have not taken this decision lightly. They have always ensured that the best possible care is given to the sick even under severe personal stress and and financial pressures.
“The present crisis within the health service has not been brought about by accident.”Nine years of Tory / DUP austerity have been inspired by the worst excesses of Thatcherism; the consequence of which is now clearly focused upon running down public services, including the NHS.
“Less that two weeks ago the DUP supported the Tories in opposing protections for the NHS against further privatisation. Two years previously the DUP supported the Tories in blocking a pay rise for nurses.
“The neo-Thatcherite ideology of the Tories and DUP is aimed at driving the public towards private healthcare, by starving the NHS of funding and resources.
“I would appeal to all who believe in the fundamental right of free universal healthcare to show solidarity with our nurses and health providers in the coming weeks.”