SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said that the anniversary of the restoration of devolution in 2020 should concentrate the minds of political leaders ahead of a general day of action to be held by public sector workers represented by 15 trade unions next week.
The Foyle MP has written to each of the trade unions organising industrial action on 18th January to offer the SDLP’s support as they challenge the unacceptable degradation of workers pay that has been made worse by high levels of inflation.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“Four years ago the Assembly and Executive were restored as a direct result of the pressure exerted by the trade union movement and the impact of the decision taken by nurses to strike for the first time in the history of the RCN.
“Workers across the public sector have once again been forced to take unprecedented action to end the scandal of the pay injustice that has been forced on them for years. Every party supports allocating resource to address public sector pay claims, the NIO and Treasury have conceded the argument and identified money to allocate, it is frankly outrageous that we’re sitting here today with no certainty for these workers.
“None of our public sector workers want to sacrifice a day’s pay, particularly right now when so many people are finding it hard to make ends meet. But they’ve been left with no choice. The unions have said that strike action can be averted. They are willing to call this off up until the last minute. It’s time for political leaders to do what’s right by the people who have kept public services afloat during a time of immense pressure.
“The Secretary of State could sort this tomorrow. The DUP could sort this tomorrow. It is time for someone to take responsibility and stop ignoring the legitimate demands of these workers.”