Addressing the Challenges Facing Our Public Sector Workers: A Call for Devolved Action - Beattie

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Addressing the Challenges Facing Our Public Sector Workers: A Call for Devolved Action - Beattie

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie MC MLA looks at the impacts of yesterday's day of action.

“In the past week, the Ulster Unionist Party has brought attention to the myriad challenges confronting our Public Sector Workers as they advocate for a fair pay award. This encompasses critical infrastructure providers, healthcare professionals, both clinical and non-clinical, as well as our educators and teaching staff.

“The impact extends beyond these sectors, affecting society at large with missed hospital appointments, educational disruptions, and diminished economic productivity. The low morale in our workforce is resulting in employment gaps that can no longer be ignored, leading to poorer outcomes for the sick, the young, and our society as a whole.

“While much blame has been directed at the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton Harris MP, as the individual responsible for the governance of Northern Ireland, the unions have carefully avoided targeting political parties. This cautious approach is understandable, given that any of these parties could hold the next health, education, or infrastructure ministries. However, the reality is that politicians in Northern Ireland possess the power and ability to address this issue now.

“For those who support devolved government, the time has come to take control of our future by making decisions that support people in their daily lives. This involves tackling public sector pay issues, addressing workforce challenges in health and education services, and fostering economic growth through improved infrastructure.

“Delivering high-quality services should be the minimum standard, not the sum of our ambitions. To achieve this, we need a sustainable workforce, which requires addressing pay concerns, improving working conditions, and boosting morale. Valuing our staff is crucial to ensuring we have the right people in the right roles at the right time.

“As a Unionist party leader, I am convinced that people are the Union, not some obscure trade deal or a 19th-century act. It is time to prioritise 'Our People,' putting them first in 'Your Home' to provide better opportunities for generations to come because 'Their Future' is at stake.”