Category Archives: Statements

A realistic Living Wage

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Time for a realistic Living Wage

Workers Party candidate in Upper Bann, Colin Craig, has repeated calls for the introduction of a realistic living wage following a damning Revenue & Customs report which ‘named and shamed’ seventeen local companies.

“It is completely unacceptable that people are being exploited in this manner, particularly young workers, and that  many of the firms involved seek to minimise their culpability with half-hearted and, quite frankly, insulting excuses”

“The DUP and Sinn Fein have been travelling the world selling Northern Ireland as a low wage economy. Today we see what that means in real terms for working people ‘, Colin said.

“I am particularly outraged at the news that a recruitment firm based in Portadown, a firm which  enlists employees for other firms, came top of this list of shame by underpaying  143 workers by more than £26,000”.

I am calling on the next Assembly to introduce, as a matter of urgency , a realistic Living Wage for Northern Ireland of at least £8,50 per hour”, Colin said

GP crisis must be resolved says Colin Craig

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GPs need to become employees like everyone else in the service

Workers Party Upper Bann candidate Colin Craig has called for GPs to become NHS employees, instead of serving as private contractors.

Speaking about the collapse of GP services in the Portadown area Colin said,

‘This simple step would improve the service, reduce waiting times and address many of the problems currently faced in primary care.

‘For as long as GPs remain as private contractors there will continue to be difficulties in recruitment and threats to services”, said Colin.

‘It would be inconceivable that other health and care professionals like nurses, social workers and hospital doctors would sit outside the NHS rather than be its employees’, he added

This problem needs to be tackled head on. GPs need to become employees like everyone else in the service if we are to tackle the crisis we are currently facing’, Colin concluded

Care of older people not a commodity – Craig

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Older care must be  freed from private profit

‘The care of older people should  primarily be the responsibility of local health and social care trusts’, the Workers Party representative in Upper Bann  has said.

Colin Craig was speaking following the closure of Glenview Private Nursing Home in Bleary, Portadown following a series of critical  inspection reports.

‘I don’t believe the closure will have come as any surprise to the residents or their families’, Colin said

‘Since Margaret Thatcher pioneered the privatisation of Nursing Homes in the 1980’s the well-being of older people has been relegated to a distant second  place behind the profit motive. It has become a commodity’, argued Colin.

‘When private care companies pull the plug  because of  falling profits or the failure to meet  standards, it is the local health and social care trusts which have to step in and provide the care’.

‘It is  incumbent on the next Assembly to urgently redress this situation by prioritising the care of our older people, by taking the entire care system back into public ownership’, Colin concluded.

Refugee ban will destroy lives – Kerr

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Refugees must be made welcome – Lily Kerr

After a week in which many people’s worst fears about a Donald Trump presidency appear to have been realised, Worker’s Party representative Lily Kerr has expressed her ‘horror and utter disgust’ at Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

‘Trump is obviously not satisfied simply waging war on women, Mexicans, African-Americans and the American working class. He has chosen to prevent Muslim men and women, many of them legal residents in the U.S., from entering the country through his executive order.

This Order will tear families apart, destroy lives, and prevent those seeking refuge from gaining protection.’ Lily said

‘The so-called war on terror continues to be used by the government of the United States to target ethnic minorities in a  sectarian, racist and xenophobic manner. These actions clearly violate the constitution of the U.S.A. and the values that America claims to have been built on’ she said

‘That this order was signed by Trump on Holocaust Memorial Day makes it all the more horrific. ‘ Lily added.  ‘I am calling on all progressive forces in Northern Ireland and abroad to strongly, and unconditionally, condemn his latest actions’.

My thoughts are with all those Muslim men, women and children who will be affected by this Order. I am proud to  publicly reaffirm my and my party’s committment by saying that Refugees Are Welcome Here!’, Lily concluded

Weir condemns north Belfast attack

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‘These are yesterday’s men’ – Weir

Workers Party representative in North Belfast Gemma Weir tonight  condemned ‘without reservation’ the wounding of a PSNI officer in a gun attack on the Crumlin Road.

‘Let there be no ifs and  no buts about this type of activity.

This was the attempted murder of a police officer serving the local community. Those who shot him and those who assisted and supported them have nothing to offer to the people of north Belfast”, Gemma said.

‘This community has unambiguously rejected violence by an overwhelming majority yet there are still armed gangs who lurk in the shadows, disrupt the lives of residents and shoot people as they provide a service to the community’

“These are yesterday’s men’. she said.

Anyone with any information about tonight’s shooting should contact the PSNI. My thoughts are with the injured officer his colleagues and family’, Gemma said.

We must show we value teachers – Weir

Gemma Weir, the Party’s North Belfast representative this morning joined local teachers as they staged industrial action against the Education minister’s refusal to allocate a 1% pay rise.

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Teachers have no option – Gemma Weir

‘Teachers are hard-working and committed public servants on whom we rely to help, develop, educate and prepare our children for later life. I know that they have not taken the decision to strike lightly,  but I believe that they have been left with absolutely no choice in the matter”, Gemma said.

‘Education Minister Peter Weir  has ‘offered’ a 0% pay increase for 2015/16. This is derisory and insulting. The Minister has been given the money to make a 1% pay offer but refuses to offer it’,  added.Gemma

‘In addition to year on year pay cuts and excessive workloads teachers are also facing widespread job insecurity. This is not a small-scale dispute but a debate and a battle over the values this society holds and the value it places on its employees and children’s futures’ she said.

I am calling on the Minister to  avoid further strike action and relieve the pressure on teachers, parents and pupils by immediately implementing the 1% rise and entering into serious and realistic negotiations with the  teaching profession and their representatives’, Gemma concluded

Chance to say ‘They’ve had their day’

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Workers Party Election Statement

‘This election is unnecessary and  will solve nothing unless people use it to pass judgement on all the parties in Stormont’, the Workers Party has said.

‘The two Executive parties, in particular, have been irresponsible, arrogant and contemptuous. Returning them to power to do the same thing again makes no sense at all.

There needs to be a root and branch reform of the Assembly structures. At a minimum we need the introduction of voluntary coalition or majority rule, the abolition of community designation requirements and the removal of the Petition of Concern mechanism. 

Many of the outstanding requirements of the Good Friday Agreement which have been deliberately set aside must be introduced if devolved government is to continue to function. These would include a Bill of Rights, Integrated Education and the establishment of a Civic Forum.

What this election does offer is a chance for people to consider a socialist alternative. An alternative  to political irresponsibility, arrogance, sectarianism and the Executive’s agenda of welfare cuts, lower corporation tax, zero hours contracts, attacks on workers’ rights, social backwardness and of course privatisation of public services .

That is the message that the Workers Party will be delivering and the choice we will be presenting to the electorate.

The Assembly parties will trade on sectarian fears and tribal instincts to maximise their votes. We have seen what that produces.

They need to be told that  they‘ve had their day’.

McGuinness resignation -‘irresponsibility on top of arrogance’

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The DUP / Sinn Fein Coalition has consistently failed to deliver

The Workers Party has condemned as ‘irresponsible’ Sinn Fein’s decision to resign from the Executive and trigger an Assembly election.

‘Today’s resignation will  solve nothing. The RHI scandal will remain unaddressed, the waste of public money will continue, there will be no inquiry and the DUP will be let off the hook. This is  Sinn Fein irresponsibility on top of DUP arrogance’, the statement said.

‘The almost inevitable election which will  follow may prove to be one of the most polarised in recent history. The stage has been set for yet another sectarian headcount’.

‘Over the past ten years the DUP /Sinn Fein coalition has consistently failed to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland. Its stewardship has been characterised by a cycle of austerity, crisis, scandal and ineptitude’. 

‘Pressure must continue  for a full public inquiry into the RHI scandal – something Sinn Fein  is clearly keen to avoid. But beyond that  it is clear that the Assembly structures must now be reformed – mandatory coalition has institutionalised sectarianism, Petitions of Concern have been abused to block social policy  and key elements of the Good Friday Agreement including a Bill of Rights, Integrated Education and a Civic Forum have been deliberately and cynically sidelined by Sinn Fein and the DUP.

‘Only when all these issues have been addressed and the Assembly is made fit for purpose can we resume with a devolved administration’, the Party statement concluded

Sperrins mining – Public Inquiry a must

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‘Sperrins mining plan must be subject to a full public inquiry’ Hugh Scullion

Local Workers Party  representative Hugh Scullion has added his voice to calls for a public inquiry into plans for a gold mining scheme in the Sperrins.

‘The work of the ‘Save Our Sperrins’ group has helped to bring this issue to the fore and their insistence on a public inquiry into plans by mining company Dalraidan Gold is an absolute must and should be undertaken without delay’, Hugh said.

‘It is almost beyond  belief that a mining operation involving the use of cyanide in a location  officially designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be allowed to proceed without even a comprehensive environmental impact assessment’, added Hugh

‘At any one time  the company plans to store between five and twenty tonnes of cyanide on site and return the water it uses in the extraction process back into the local watercourse after on site processing’.

‘The relentless pursuit of profit at any price  must be exposed and halted in its tracks. The fact that the DUP, through one of its local Councillors, is supporting the scheme should be sufficient cause for alarm on its own’, Hugh said

‘During November, 10,000 snow geese were killed by toxic waste from a former mine in British Columbia Canada. The Sperrins are home to a host of wildlife including otters, salmon and fresh water mussels’, said Hugh

‘The recent drilling operations at Woodburn Forest outside Carrickfergus took place beside a water reservoir  without a full environmental impact assessment’ Hugh pointed out, ‘and were finally halted by public protest and pressure.It seems that the same pressure and protest will be needed in the face of this scheme’, he said.

‘This mining scheme cannot be allowed to proceed with out a full public inquiry into its processes, the risks and the potential impact on the environment. That announcement should be made immediately and unambiguously by the Infrastructure Minister’, Hugh concluded

‘Foster must step aside for a full public enquiry’ – Kerr

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Empty barns and buildings are heated for profit while fuel poverty in Northern Ireland continues to rise

‘Supreme arrogance and contempt for both public opinion and the political process have led to a situation where only a full and impartial enquiry will now be able to uncover the facts behind the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme’, Workers Party representative Lily Kerr has said.

‘The facts behind this debacle could have been aired much earlier and without the drip, drip release of information that we have seen over recent weeks’, she said

‘Arlene Foster and a string of DUP spokespersons have attempted to minimise the scale of this issue, hide its financial implications and play down the impact it will have on the people of Northern Ireland,  Lily said.

‘It is unforgivable that as levels of fuel poverty continue to rise an Executive programme pays people to heat empty barns and buildings. It is reprehensible that those responsible should seek to avoid accountability with arrogance and contempt’.

‘Just one year ago the same DUP was demonising people in receipt of benefits and refusing to even consider presenting an alternative to the welfare cuts agenda.  However, they have had no difficulty in burning millions of pounds of taxpayers money’, she added.

‘Arlene Foster must now step aside and allow a full public enquiry to establish and publish the facts, including the details of those who joined the scheme in its final weeks’, Lily concluded

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