No pay rise! A slap in face for NHS staff

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Enthusiastic NHS workers demanding a pay rise after their efforts saved thousands of lives in the battle against Covid-19 since March

‘ENOUGH is Enough,’ chanted a rally of 500 angry NHS workers outside Downing Street on Wednesday night.

They are angry that they have been excluded from the public sector pay increase and are demanding a 15 per cent pay rise and an end to public sector pay inequality.

The rally was addressed by hospital workers and student nurses from London and further afield.

A young nurse from Brighton, Reizel Quiachon, spoke passionately about their struggle, saying: ‘This government is abusing our virtue. We must turn our pain into power.

‘When we are looking after a patient, we are involved physically and mentally. We put our whole selves into caring.

‘Yet I have had to work overtime just to survive.

‘My mum was a nurse and I used to hate the fact that I could not spend more time with her, as she was not at home, she was caring.’

Unite member at St Thomas’ Hospital Dave Carr, addressing the crowd, said: ‘Our task is to build for the biggest strike we’ve seen in the NHS. We need a national ballot over pay.’

An occupational therapist, Unison member, Jordan Rivera from Homerton Hospital, said: ‘We went to work without the equipment we needed.

‘We will remember three of our colleagues at Homerton who have tragically died from the virus, Michael, Sophie and Dr Choudhury.

‘We are fighting for the students who have stepped up and volunteered to be on the front line and have now been shafted by this government by being dismissed before the end of September as they were promised.

‘We want nursing bursaries to be reinstated.

‘It’s a disgrace that the government think they can get away with it.

‘Our wards are staffed with workers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and they deserve better.

‘We are at the coal face and we demand a pay rise.’

Sarah Cook from Unite Eastern Region said: ‘I was involved in drawing up a list of bus drivers who had died. It was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done.’

Student nurse Bradley, said: ‘The same people in government who clapped us are now selling the NHS.’

Nurse Dovile Stankute told News Line: ‘I am a children’s nurse, but now redeployed to A&E at Homerton Hospital. We are fighting for all NHS workers from band 2 to band 9. That includes healthcare assistants, porters, cleaners, they have all been at the front line and exposed to the virus and have now been forgotten.

‘The government claim that we have had a 25 per cent pay rise is not true – we have not had a pay rise for years.

‘In 2018, when MPs got eleven per cent, we got one per cent.’

At the rally there was a group from the Filipino Nurse Association UK.

Francis Fernando, who set up the Association, told News Line: ‘The Covid pandemic has highlighted the disparity among healthcare workers.

‘Filipino workers are disproportionally affected by Covid-19.

‘We believe that many were on low-paid jobs and often exposed to the virus.’

Speakers at the rally called for a massive turnout for a demonstration in Central London on August 8th.

There will also be demonstrations in another 31 cities and the list is growing.

Unite said in a statement before the rally: ‘A deserved boost in pay for NHS staff, who have battled through the pandemic, is “the elephant in the room” in the latest plan for the health service in England.

‘Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock today welcomed the launch of the NHS People Plan as a new bureaucracy-busting drive, so staff can spend less time on paperwork and more time with their patients.

‘Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that the aims of this latest plan for the NHS would be hampered by the fragmentation caused by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act with its remit for increased competition for NHS services.’

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: ‘There has been a plethora of plans for the future of the NHS over the years and this latest manifestation neatly avoids “the elephant in the room” – that of NHS pay.

‘NHS staff have worked ceaselessly throughout the pandemic at great risk to themselves and a generous pay rise would recognise that dedication as well as staunch the “recruitment and retention” crisis that is currently afflicting the NHS – for example, there are about 40,000 nursing vacancies in England alone.

‘It is all very well for the plan to trumpet bureaucracy-busting measures, but it was the flawed 2012 Act of the then health secretary Andrew Lansley that created the extra bureaucracy by fragmenting the NHS in the first place.’‘ENOUGH is Enough,’ chanted a rally of 500 angry NHS workers outside Downing Street on Wednesday night.

They are angry that they have been excluded from the public sector pay increase and are demanding a 15 per cent pay rise and an end to public sector pay inequality.

The rally was addressed by hospital workers and student nurses from London and further afield.

A young nurse from Brighton, Reizel Quiachon, spoke passionately about their struggle, saying: ‘This government is abusing our virtue. We must turn our pain into power.

‘When we are looking after a patient, we are involved physically and mentally. We put our whole selves into caring.

‘Yet I have had to work overtime just to survive.

‘My mum was a nurse and I used to hate the fact that I could not spend more time with her, as she was not at home, she was caring.’

Unite member at St Thomas’ Hospital Dave Carr, addressing the crowd, said: ‘Our task is to build for the biggest strike we’ve seen in the NHS. We need a national ballot over pay.’

An occupational therapist, Unison member, Jordan Rivera from Homerton Hospital, said: ‘We went to work without the equipment we needed.

‘We will remember three of our colleagues at Homerton who have tragically died from the virus, Michael, Sophie and Dr Choudhury.

‘We are fighting for the students who have stepped up and volunteered to be on the front line and have now been shafted by this government by being dismissed before the end of September as they were promised.

‘We want nursing bursaries to be reinstated.

‘It’s a disgrace that the government think they can get away with it.

‘Our wards are staffed with workers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and they deserve better.

‘We are at the coal face and we demand a pay rise.’

Sarah Cook from Unite Eastern Region said: ‘I was involved in drawing up a list of bus drivers who had died. It was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done.’

Student nurse Bradley, said: ‘The same people in government who clapped us are now selling the NHS.’

Nurse Dovile Stankute told News Line: ‘I am a children’s nurse, but now redeployed to A&E at Homerton Hospital. We are fighting for all NHS workers from band 2 to band 9. That includes healthcare assistants, porters, cleaners, they have all been at the front line and exposed to the virus and have now been forgotten.

‘The government claim that we have had a 25 per cent pay rise is not true – we have not had a pay rise for years.

‘In 2018, when MPs got eleven per cent, we got one per cent.’

At the rally there was a group from the Filipino Nurse Association UK.

Francis Fernando, who set up the Association, told News Line: ‘The Covid pandemic has highlighted the disparity among healthcare workers.

‘Filipino workers are disproportionally affected by Covid-19.

‘We believe that many were on low-paid jobs and often exposed to the virus.’

Speakers at the rally called for a massive turnout for a demonstration in Central London on August 8th.

There will also be demonstrations in another 31 cities and the list is growing.

Unite said in a statement before the rally: ‘A deserved boost in pay for NHS staff, who have battled through the pandemic, is “the elephant in the room” in the latest plan for the health service in England.

‘Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock today welcomed the launch of the NHS People Plan as a new bureaucracy-busting drive, so staff can spend less time on paperwork and more time with their patients.

‘Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that the aims of this latest plan for the NHS would be hampered by the fragmentation caused by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act with its remit for increased competition for NHS services.’

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: ‘There has been a plethora of plans for the future of the NHS over the years and this latest manifestation neatly avoids “the elephant in the room” – that of NHS pay.

‘NHS staff have worked ceaselessly throughout the pandemic at great risk to themselves and a generous pay rise would recognise that dedication as well as staunch the “recruitment and retention” crisis that is currently afflicting the NHS – for example, there are about 40,000 nursing vacancies in England alone.

‘It is all very well for the plan to trumpet bureaucracy-busting measures, but it was the flawed 2012 Act of the then health secretary Andrew Lansley that created the extra bureaucracy by fragmenting the NHS in the first place.’