Health bosses have not yet reimbursed nurses with the pay they docked from their wages as they fought for safer conditions in the NHS six months ago, it can be revealed.
Thousands of healthcare workers, including some of the lowest paid NHS employees, lost hundreds of pounds as a result of their unprecedented strike action taken during the winter months.
The failure by the Executive to approve the repayment of the money is the latest slap in the face for nurses who have put their lives at risk to prop up the crisis-hit NHS throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
It comes as healthcare workers face having to pay to use hospital car parks again after bosses controversially reinstated charges for staff.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has hit out at the Department of Health for its failure to include the docked money in nurses' July wages.
Rita Devlin, RCN (NI) associate director, said: "Nurses working on the front line have been under sustained pressure over the past few months as they have continued to care for and treat patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Learning that money had been secured to reimburse pay lost during strike action was a welcome boost.
"It has been disappointing that this has yet to be paid.
"The Department of Health has advised us that a paper is with the Executive on this issue."
The failure to pay the money in July comes despite the RCN making a plea in June for the matter to be resolved as a matter of urgency.
Nurses took to the picket line in December and January in a bid to secure safe staffing levels and better pay for healthcare workers.
The stand-off with health bosses came to an end after the Assembly was reinstated at the start of the year. However, staff involved in the strike had money docked from their wages for the time they took part in the industrial action.
Funding was subsequently made available to the Department of Health to enable it to reimburse affected workers, but Health Minister Robin Swann has said he needs Executive approval before it can be paid to nurses.
A query was submitted to the Department of Health asking whether the docked pay would be included in July's pay and for an explanation for why this would not happen.
The department was also asked whether the Executive has met to discuss the matter.
A spokeswoman said: "The Health Minister is seeking further engagement with the Executive to clarify some of the wider issues raised by this proposal."
The RCN is pressing for Mr Swann to deliver on the promises made when he took up his post in January.
Among the demands nurses were calling for during the strike action was pay parity with colleagues in the rest of the UK and an increase in the number of staff working across the health service.
Limited action has been taken to date, with health officials citing the pandemic as a significant reason for delays.
Meanwhile, a freeze on car parking charges at hospitals here has come to an end.
Responding to an Assembly question on the issue, Mr Swann said the measure was put in place "in recognition of the unprecedented nature of the Covid-19 pandemic" and the dedication of staff working hard to keep the NHS running through the initial stages of the pandemic.
He said continuing with free parking indefinitely will create access problems for staff and visitors and will also reduce the amount of money available to fund patient care.
He added that "the position will be kept under review in the context of the evolving position as regards the prevalence and impact of Covid-19".