NHS workers to take part in socially-distanced demos for pay justice

Thousands of NHS workers across the UK will take to the streets on Saturday (August 8) as part of the growing campaign for pay justice for health service workers.

A spokesman for Unite said anger is mounting as NHS workers were overlooked in the latest round of public sector pay rises – despite more than 500 NHS and social care staff dying from Covid-19.

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, says it is seeking a substantial pay increase for its members. And will be supporting those wishing to attend the socially-distanced protests so the government can see the depth of discontent and frustration of NHS staff who continue to be in the frontline in the battle against Covid-19.

Protests will be taking place in cities and towns across the UK and stewards will be on hand to see that social distancing measures are adhered to

The protests come after chancellor Rishi Sunak awarded a pay rise of up to 3.1% to 900,000 public sector workers, including doctors, teachers and police officers last month.

Unite accused the chancellor of having ‘a selective memory’ when it comes to public sector pay, rewarding some, but ignoring hundreds of thousands of others.

Unite national officer for health Jackie Williams said: ‘Nursing staff and other allied health professionals have reacted with anger to being overlooked when pay rises were given to many in the public sector last month and the government not hearing the health trade unions’ call to bring their pay rise forward from April 2021.

‘Last week, health workers marched to Downing Street to vent their anger that all their efforts during the pandemic, which has claimed so many of their colleagues’ lives, have appeared to be ignored when it comes to recognition in their pay packets.

‘In a decade of Tory austerity, NHS staff has seen their pay cut by 20 per cent in real terms – and no amount of Thursday evening clapping and warm ministerial words can compensate for this dramatic loss in income.

‘Poor rates of pay have contributed to the estimated 100,000 vacancies in the NHS and ensuing ‘recruitment and retention’ crisis.

‘Unite is supporting our members wishing to turn out on Saturday. There will be a broad-based rolling campaign for NHS pay justice that will continue for the rest of the year.

‘The public expects – and ministers should deliver – a substantial pay increase for NHS staff that reflects their real worth to the NHS and society more generally. NHS workers shouldn’t have to wait until April 2021.’

Unite has joined with 13 other health unions and professional organisations in the campaign to demand that pay talks start as soon as possible out of respect for the dedicated NHS staff who have battled Covid-19.

Unite said that the last three-year pay deal, which ends in April 2021, had started to rectify the pay deficit, but this now needs to be substantially built on.

Details of each demo can be found here.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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