Lisburn Councillor Robbie Butler has called on the Health Minister to ensure that nurses are give “a proper pay-rise and a sensible wage”.
Assembly election candidate Mr Butler said it was vital that nurses’ pay reflected the contribution they made to the health service and society in general.
“In my role in the Fire Service, “ he said, “I speak from personal experience of having witnessed the amazing and selfless dedication these often unsung heroes give to others, so I firmly believe that they are entitled to their pay-rise.
“ Our nurses deserve praise for working so admirably in what are becoming increasingly difficult circumstances.
“With approximately 20% of the population now on a waiting list, and patients often facing excessive delays, our nurses are arguably preventing the system from collapsing altogether.
“It is very sad to note that Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK in which nursing staff have not received a final pay deal. This means that workers in the Natoinal Health Service in Northern Ireland are now the poorest paid across the entire UK.
“An experienced staff nurse in Northern Ireland is now paid £279 a year less than in England and £561 a year less than in Scotland.”
Mr Butler said the DUP’s Stormont Health Minister Simon Hamilton needed to give nurses the support and priority they deserved, and needed to award the one per cent pay rise immediately.