Sunday, August 09, 2020


Thousands of NHS workers have protested across the UK calling for fair pay for NHS staff and true recognition of their work during the pandemic.

Last month, the government announced a pay rise for NHS doctors but not nurses and other workers, in a move unions described as “the final straw” after real terms cuts of thousands of pounds to nurses pay since 2010 due to a failure to raise wages with inflation.

Dave Carr, a critical care nurse at St Thomas’ hospital in London – where Boris Johnson was treated in intensive care – said working during the coronavirus crisis was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life” and that he was “fuming” at the absence of a pay increase. “We’re absolutely on our knees. And on top of it they give 900,000 public sector workers a pay rise, and I haven’t got a problem with that, but they carve us out. I’m absolutely fuming.”

 Protesters made their way along Whitehall towards Downing Street with a blue banner reading: “End NHS pay inequality, together we win.” Outside No 10, there were chants of: “Boris Johnson hear us shout, pay us properly or get out.”

NHS staff fell silent to remember colleagues lost during the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrators held signs saying “Covid hero pay rise zero”, and “Who saved you Boris?”

Dr Tony O’Sullivan, co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, said the government was “abusing the goodwill and commitment” of healthcare workers.
“The government has rejected an opportunity for a meaningful thank you that could have addressed the 20% cuts in pay inflicted since 2010. Small wonder then that there are now 44,000 nurse vacancies,” he said, adding it was hypocritical to clap NHS workers while effectively neglecting them.

Helen O’Connor, an organiser from the GMB union, said NHS workers were not just fighting for themselves but for the survival of the health service.
“If we really want an NHS capable of dealing with a crisis and all the other demands, then the government must start treating health care workers with dignity and respect and this starts with fair pay,” she said. “If our NHS is to survive for future generations, the cuts and privatisation agenda of this government must be completely reversed.”

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