SDLP Social Justice Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan has urged the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to reach a fair pay agreement with staff to end strike action.
Mr McCrossan said it was completely unacceptable that NIHE staff had been forced to take strike action during a cost of living emergency.
He also cited the impact the strike is having on NIHE tenants, with many services impacted by the strikes.
West Tyrone MLA Mr McCrossan said:
“Strike action from NIHE staff has now been ongoing for 14 weeks in their attempt to secure a fair pay agreement and it’s long past time that the Housing Executive sat down with an offer that recognises the difficult situation that many staff are facing and allows them to get back to work at the first opportunity.
“The experiences of NIHE staff due to the cost of living emergency are startling, many are left constantly worrying about their finances, how they are going to put food on the table, heat their homes and make ends meet. Every SDLP representative regularly deals with NIHE staff on behalf of constituents and we know how hard they work, it’s shameful that many have been left with no other option than to turn to food banks to feed themselves and their families.
“This strike has also had a profound impact on tenants, with repairs and improvements at NIHE properties stacking up with no certainty around a timeframe for thousands of jobs to be carried out. Everything from regular maintenance services to disability adaptations have been affected, while hundreds of houses have been left empty in the middle of an acute housing crisis as there are no staff to complete the change of tenancies.
“The NIHE cannot allow this situation to continue any longer, the current impasse benefits nobody and we need to see a renewed effort to recognise the concerns of staff and tenants and reach an agreement to end this strike action.”