Thousands of NHS workers took to the streets of the United Kingdom to protest against their exclusion from a recent public sector pay rise announcement, and anger arose as NHS workers were disregarded in the latest round of public sector pay increases, despite more than 500 NHS and social care workers dying from COVID 19.
Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, supported its members wanting to attend the socially distanced protests, so that the government could see the extent of dissatisfaction and disappointment of NHS workers who continue to be in the frontline in the fight against COVID 19.
The flagship march which took place in London, started at St James’s Park before demonstrators made their way along Whitehall towards Downing Street, with a blue banner that read ‘End NHS pay inequality, together we win’ that led the march.
Many were displaying placards, including one which said ‘Boris remember my neighbour Lewis, what about his pay rise?’
‘He saved your life now reward us.’
Last month Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 3.1 per cent pay rise for 900,000 public sector workers, including senior doctors, teachers and police officers, but nurses were not included because they negotiated a separate three-year deal in 2018.
Junior doctors were also eliminated because they agreed on a new four-year deal last year, but Unite has announced that it’s seeking a large pay rise for its members.
The key demonstration got underway in London, commencing at 11.00 am at St James’s Park, with demonstrators then proceeding along Whitehall to Downing Street and ending with a gathering at Parliament Square.
Images show hundreds of demonstrators in masks parading with banners through the metropolis, and the Unite national officer for health Jackie Williams said, nursing staff and other related health professionals have responded with outrage to being neglected when pay increases were given to many in the public sector last month and the government not listening to the health trade unions call to bring their pay rise forward from April 2021.
In a decade of Tory austerity, NHS workers have seen their earnings cut by 20 per cent in real terms, and no amount of clapping and warm ministerial words can compensate for this climactic deterioration in income.
And poor rates of pay have contributed to the estimated 100,000 vacancies in the NHS and subsequent recruitment and retention crisis.
The public expects and ministers should deliver, an abundant pay rise for NHS workers that reflects their real worth to the NHS and society more generally, and NHS workers shouldn’t have to wait until April 2021.
Demonstrations are also set to take place in towns and cities around the United Kingdom including Basildon, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and Ipswich.
NHS workers care for their patients and put public safety as an absolute priority, which is why they’re taking action to improve the pay for all NHS staff, and as a group who’ve been supporting people to independently coordinate demonstrations to highlight these problems, it’s essential for demonstration organisers and attendees to keep themselves knowledgeable of the risks, the latest public health guidance and the latest regulations, as these may alter quickly and may change across the United Kingdom.
And it’s clear the public supports an early increase and to disregard them would be at the Government’s own peril, and any attempt to deny workers a significant wage increase could rebound badly.
And health unions have made it clear that it’s down to the Government to act and show how much it values the NHS and its workers, and out of everyone who got a pay increase, nurses deserve more.
But they won’t get anything from the Tories because they’re attitude is that if you believe your job or your salary isn’t good enough for you, then quit, and if you don’t feel capable of getting a position with better pay, then be thankful for the one you’ve got.
However, if the Tories were front line workers on a 12-hour shift in a hospital with 150 COVID 19 patients clearing COVID clinical waste, I believe their approach would change. I mean feel free to join their crew, they wouldn’t last a day – hard-pressed NHS workers deserve a bonus, Boris.
Because we should be rewarding these workers who have risked their lives, and what about those that have died doing their duty, their families should be compensated as well. They’re nurses and doctors working on the frontline but they didn’t get danger money for that.
The Government might not have been able to protect them from the COVID 19 pandemic, but some of those people that died left behind families, and money might not be able to bring back their loved ones, but at least it would make life a little less hard, especially if they had children.
If a person signs up to go into the army and is on the frontline, they know they might not be coming home to their families, and their families are aware of this. However, a nurse or a doctor goes to work with the notion that they will be coming home, but many have not.
And now it seems that these nurses and doctors have to put up and shut up – but Boris you’re the Prime Minister and you’re supposed to know what you’re doing, rather than leaving it to your minions to decide because at the moment he doesn’t appear to know when he gets out of bed in the morning what his left foot is doing as he falls over his tongue.
Nurses should get a pay rise, at least they’re working – Boris Johnson hasn’t actually been seen about much. Maybe he should give his earnings to these frontline nurses and doctors. After all, he was happy to clap for them after he came out of hospital after his ordeal with the coronavirus, but he doesn’t want to give them a pay rise, but his clapping was aesthetically pleasing, and it made lots of people believe that he was a goody-two-shoes.
And for those who clapped for the NHS, perhaps they’ll wake up now because there are some fabulous NHS workers who deserve applause, yet the Government were culling the elderly while this ritual clapping was taking place.
And if anyone is to blame it’s the people that govern this country, not NHS workers because they don’t make decisions over cutting services and closing wards et cetera, and could you envision a hospital without nurses, even for a day, there would be complete turmoil as the doctors and other health care professionals wandered about aimlessly, not knowing what to do.
But the big image here is that it’s criminal in the United Kingdom that we pay members of the House of Lords £300 a day just for turning up for work, and we pay ridiculous expenses to members of both houses, yet we can’t manage to pay nurses a decent living wage for doing the job that they do.
And for those people out there that don’t think nurses should get a pay increase, let’s hope you don’t need those entitled monsters care anytime soon. Because that’s what they’re being called ‘entitled’ – not entitled maybe, but worthy of the job that they do on the frontline, and they’re not paid enough money to go to work with inadequate equipment so that they can put their lives in danger.
I can list numerous reasons why nurses deserve a pay increase. Many have cancelled annual leaves, worked seven to 12-hour shifts in 8 days. Covered shifts for co-workers who were unwell, stayed for at least one hour after every shift to ensure the ward is safe, without payment, oh, and held the hand of many deaths from this pandemic, with tears streaming down their faces.
Yes, it is their job, but these people are not robots, and the NHS was overwhelmed, particularly in ITU where they had twice the patient capacity and then watched people die in front of their very eyes because they didn’t have enough ventilators.
Boris Johnson has no honour, and even as people whine about nurses and doctors getting a pay increase, Boris is plotting to sell the NHS down the river. But instead, he should have a special respect for these superhuman people that work on the front line and never get paid for their worth.
Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but the misfortune of the cost should be shared by the community. That was said by Aneurin Bevan, the Health Minister and predecessor of Matt Hancock who created the NHS.
And now we all clap like circus seals for the NHS, and now some are saying that they don’t deserve a pay increase – hypocrites. How many of you who don’t believe that nurses deserve a pay increase have lost a loved one to COVID 19?
And the majority of those people just shows their mindset towards health workers. Health care work isn’t attractive but they do it because they want to, but I bet Boris Johnson wouldn’t even be able to do the job that they do. I bet he wouldn’t be able to stand a second in the stench of an operating theatre, and health workers should be paid generously because health is the most important thing.
And we need to give phenomenal support for a wonderful team of NHS workers. Where would we be without their help and support? Rishi Sunak must have somehow missed the incredible work carried out by NHS workers, or has he heartlessly decided that they will work anyway, and he should be ashamed of himself.
And aren’t we forgetting that while everyone else got a pay increase every year, the NHS workers didn’t get one for ten years, and if you take inflation they’re still about 20 per cent less than they would be had their wages gone up with inflation?
And while we throw tantrums because we aren’t happy, they can’t because they’re too busy caring for our loved ones, and it seems that it’s a lack of funding and mismanagement of services that’s causing waiting lists to creep up, not the hard-working NHS staff.
All nurses and care staff should be getting the biggest pay rise ever. It’s long overdue and after all, the work they have done and are still doing, it’s the least our Government could do, and I can’t believe that anyone would be against this.