He said: “The SDLP has consistently campaigned shoulder to shoulder with frontline health service workers for a pay rise for these hard working staff.
“While, I am pleased that money has now been found to give this pay rise – it has still not been paid. That is a disgrace.
“Health service staff have been short changed for years, in particular there is a significant pay gap between nurses here and those in England, Scotland and Wales.
“That gap is growing rather than closing.
“That cannot continue.
“The SDLP has taken immediate action and written directly to the Head of the Civil Service, the Permanent Secretary for Health and to the Department of Finance seeking urgent clarification over why this pay rise has not yet been paid.
“Unfortunately, the political vacuum has left these health service workers struggling for answers.
“The lack of political leadership has left those on the frontline behind.
“However, I want to reassure workers, the SDLP will not abandon you and we will not abdicate our responsibilities, while others prevent us from returning to Stormont to do our jobs, we will not stop until a fairer deal for workers is delivered.
“While others will focus on passing the buck, we need to focus on paying the bucks.
“These staff are the backbone of our health service.
“They deserve this long awaited, much needed and long fought for pay rise, they deserve it now.”