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CSP is ‘disappointed’ by new Northern Ireland health minister’s approach to NHS pay

18 May 2015 - 3:48pm

Claire Ronald, the CSP’s senior negotiating officer in Northern Ireland, said she is disappointed that the new health minister is spreading a ‘myth’ that pay increments are the same as a pay increase.

CSP is ‘disappointed’ by new Northern Ireland health minister’s approach to NHS pay

Simon Hamilton says he wants to find ‘an affordable solution’ to NHS pay issues

Simon Hamilton, the Democratic Unionist Party member for Strangford and former finance and personnel minister, was appointed to the health role after the general election. He said he wants to find an ‘affordable solution’ to NHS pay issues.

But according to Ms Ronald, the new minister appears to be saying that incremental pay progression and a one per cent non-consolidated pay increase are equivalent rewards for staff.

She had deep concerns that Northern Ireland is the only area of the UK not to have made a pay offer for the current financial year.

‘There have been some meetings with the trade unions and department officials, but to date the department has not made any offer or been clear on the pay envelope unions would be negotiating within,’ she said.

‘The CSP has not yet balloted its members for industrial action, but is encouraging all members to ensure that their membership profile is updated.’

In a statement to Frontline, Mr Hamilton said: ‘No decisions have yet been taken on health and social care pay for 2015-16 in Northern Ireland.

‘My officials have invited health and social care unions to engage in consideration of a pay award for 2015-16 and are keen for such discussions to commence as soon as possible.’

He emphasised, however, that ongoing pressures in Northern Ireland’s health and social care system meant it faced a very difficult financial year ahead, including tough decisions about the provision of services.

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