Backing Nurses – Supporting the NHS

When nurses in Northern Ireland vote overwhelmingly to go on strike, it confirms the depth of the economic and political crisis we are in.

There are currently almost 2,500 nursing vacancies in health trusts and a similar number in the private sector. Taking industrial action is a situation that has been forced upon the nursing community as they rightly pursue parity of pay with colleagues across the NHS and seek safe staffing levels.

All five main parties in Northern Ireland are collectively to blame. The Northern Ireland Executive broke pay parity in 2014 – a decision subsequently confirmed by successive health minsters.

The media and others claim that strike action puts patents at risk. The stark reality is that patients are already at risk and staff and services are at breaking point.

Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of citizens and the safe delivery of a public health and social care service.

Supporting the striking health care workers and their demands for pay party and safe staffing levels is a demonstration of support for the NHS.   

Pay parity a just demand by Hovis workers

Pay parity a just demand by local workers

An offer of a three percent pay increase for south Belfast based Hovis bakery workers has been described by Workers Party representative Patrick Lynn as a “calculated insult to a workforce that has laboured through the pandemic to keep bread on our tables”.

The workers and their trade union colleagues have asked for a fair pay offer of 10%, which would bring them in line with fellow workers in Britain.

“The fact that these essential workers kept our shelves stacked throughout the pandemic while the Hovis company recorded pre-tax profits of of £19.2 million the last year, amounts to a smack in the face for this dedicated local workforce,” Patrick said.

” For most of us, having bread on the table is an essential,. This was especially so during the periods of lockdown”, explained Patrick .

“Hovis management has an opportunity to fully support their workforce and pay them what they deserve for keeping the supermarket shelves stacked,” he said.

“They could have resolved these issues months ago, and were given every opportunity, but instead they have chosen confrontation with the very people who have kept their business afloat during the most difficult of times,” he added.

” The lock down boom in online shopping has seen the sale of baked goods, including bread, reach an all time high. So as the Hovis company piles up record profits the workforce delivering the goods are offered crumbs for their efforts,” Patrick added

“The Workers Party demands that the Hovis management team immediately agrees to the demands of the local workers and establishes pay parity with other workers in the Hovis Group”.

Concluding, Patrick said “I want to record my party’s solidarity and support for those on the picket lines and look forward to the immediate granting of their just demands”.