Strikes by health staff get Council support

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Members of Mid Ulster District Council have supported a motion supporting the industrial action currently being carried out by health workers.

Sinn Féin Cllr Cathal Mallaghan, who tabled the motion at the monthly meeting on Thursday, thanked all the parties for their unanimous support and showing a united front in support of the workers.

The motion encouraged Permanent Secretary for Health Richard Pengally to engage respectfully and meaningfully with Trade Unions.

Cllr Mallaghan spoke of the continued cut to the block grant which has totalled £1 billion during the tenure of the Conservative government.

Speaking after the meeting he said: “When taking inflation into consideration we are down £2 billion over ten years. This is a sustained attack on our services that cannot be tolerated and these austerity measures must be reversed immediately.”

Mr Mallaghan went on to explain how nurses in the “north of Ireland are the lowest paid in these islands”.

“In the rest of Ireland average pay is £34k, Scotland £24.5k, England and Wales £24.2k and here £22.8k and there are no arrangements in place to achieve parity,” he continued.

In his closing remarks he called on local politicians to be brave and make the right decisions on the relocation of services and support the Bengoa principles of focussing on services and not structures.