Said Cllor Harkin: “Today is International Nurses Day. Following a People Before Profit proposal, Council’s Health and Community Committee will hear directly today from nurses and healthcare workers about the twin challenges they face from a health service in crisis and a spiralling cost of living crisis.
“Nurses, and the entire healthcare workforce in the public and private sector, acted heroically throughout the pandemic.
“They continue to perform heroics now while our health service faces tremendous challenges.
“Unfortunately, despite cthe political establishment clapping during the pandemic, our nurses along with their health and social care colleagues, were rewarded by Westminster and Stormont with an insulting real terms pay cut.
“Many in the private care sector don’t receive a living wage.
“The staffing crisis has worsened since the 2019 health and social care workers strike, even though resolving it was an urgent demand and central New Decade New Approach agreement commitment.
“As a result, health and social care workers are exhausted, demoralised, undervalued for their efforts, and, unfortunately, many are considering leaving.
“We fully back and urge the broadest support for demands from health and social care unions for real cost of living pay increases, for robust funding to dramatically reduce waiting lists and to reverse fully privatisation for profit across the entirety of health care provision.
“A mass people power movement to raise wages and save the health service is the key to forcing Westminster and Stormont into action.”