Healthcare workers to protest outside hospitals over pay


Public sector union UNISON is calling for protests by healthcare workers in a campaign for fair pay in the NHS.

UNISON is calling on all healthcare workers, including nurses, paramedics, porters, cleaners, cooks, therapists and healthcare assistants to hold official protests on Thursday 5th June.

Protests will take place outside hospitals and other workplaces over an offer that denies 60 per cent of NHS workers a pay rise and 70 per cent of nurses.

Christina McAnea, UNISON’s Head of Health, said:

“We are calling on our 400,000 members working in the health service to publicly protest against the unacceptable pay offer from the Government.

“We are the largest health union, and we take the responsibility that comes with that, very seriously.

“Members don’t take action often or easily, but this time it feels that we have no choice.

“We want to use this day to build support for a resounding yes vote when we ballot for strike action.

“Our members in the NHS tell us they are demoralised, overworked and undervalued. And we also know that a demotivated workforce is bad for patients. Pay in the NHS has been effectively cut by 10 per cent since the coalition came to power.

“Our members are among those hit hard by the state of the economy, the rise in the cost of food and fuel, coupled with housing and benefit cuts.

“It is a national disgrace that working people have to rely on benefits, food banks or resort to payday loans at exorbitant interest rates to make ends meet.”

Nurses in Mansfield and Kirkby have been urged to support a campaign to defend fair pay for NHS workers.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) described the decision as an ‘insult’ to hard-working nurses and health care assistants and held walkabout events at Mansfield Community Hospital and Ashfield Health Village.

King’s Mill Hospital nurse Nigel Mellors, chairman of the North Nottinghamshire branch of the RCN said: “The Government’s decision is outrageous and unfair and an insult to dedicated nursing staff in Mansfield and beyond. The Government says that nurses in the NHS are not worth a tiny pay rise this year even though their pay has actually been cut in real terms over the past four years and living costs continue to rise. By forcing nurses to take yet another real-terms pay cut, the Government is sending out a message that commitment and hard work are not valued.”

Only NHS staff at the top of their pay band will receive a one-off one per cent rise in 2014/15. No cost-of-living increase will be awarded to any worker eligible for an incremental rise.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We have been able to protect the NHS budget and as a result the NHS is performing well despite rapidly rising demand.

“NHS staff are our greatest asset. We cannot afford a pay rise on top of incremental pay increases of up to 6 per cent without risking frontline jobs and safe staffing levels.”