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The News Line: News ‘SCRAP THE CAP!’ – ‘We deserve better’ say angry nurses
At their rally outside the House of Commons yesterday nurses made it very clear they they intended to smash the pay cap
‘SCRAP the cap!’ shouted thousands of nurses from all over the UK rallying in Parliament Square yesterday.


The rally was organised by the Royal College of Nursing, which has warned it is prepared to ballot nurses for strike action to break the 1% public sector pay cap.
A recent RCN survey found that the NHS is 50,000 nurses short.
TV star Tony Robinson was first to address the rally, telling the thousands of nurses: ‘You guys are the lifeblood of the NHS. You are all suffering, but the people who caused the financial crisis did not suffer, they put the money in the banks.
‘Scrap the cap now, not just for some nurses, but for all nurses. Scrap the cap for all local authority workers. We have a cunning plan – scrap the cap now!’
RCN Council member for Wales, Richard Jones, told the rally: ‘The public in Wales have been very supportive.
‘We need to restore the bursaries, there are nearly 3,000 nurse vacancies in Wales alone, that is appalling. Underpaid and overworked nurses are suffering considerably.
‘Nurses in Wales are working in places that are very short of staff. What do we want – Scrap the cap!’
London nurse Barbara Kombe declared: ‘We deserve better and we will get better. Since the pay freeze in 2010 I decided to become a health visitor because I thought I would be able to earn more, but I’m still having to work extra shifts and weekends to make ends meet.
‘As a single parent I am struggling, my salary has been squeezed year on year and I’m finding it hard to make ends meet. We have to scrap the cap.’
The Chair of the RCN Congress Stuart McKenzie, from Glasgow said: ‘There is a political reason for austerity at the heart of the government’s plan from which our patients are suffering – the government has made the decision to drive nurses out of nursing, to drive teachers out of teaching and students out of studying. This is a campaign to destroy the public sector. But we are the power, our patients are behind us. Do not stop. Scrap the cap. Everyone deserves fair pay.’

The speaker from Northern Ireland Fiona Devlin said: ‘I represent 14,000 nurses in Northern Ireland. We’ve campaigned with our MPs for support to scrap the cap. The background for our campaign in Northern Ireland is a perennial crisis.

‘Nursing and social care are in crisis. We are threatened with further measures that will mean further closures. If they proceed they will bring the health servcies in Northern Ireland to the point of collapse. A staff nurse in Northern Ireland is paid £500 less than in Scotland and £380 less than in England. Nurses in Northern Ireland continue to work above the call of duty. We need the Assembly up and rolling to start tackling the crisis in our health service. Scrap the cap.’

Bart’s staff nurse Danielle Tiplady declared: ‘If we don’t pay nurses there will be no NHS. We need to scrap the cap and restore the bursaries. We’ve had 100,000 signatures for debate in parliament, yet the cap remains. Patient care is suffering. This is bad for nursing and bad for patients.’

Gemma Rhodes, a nurse from Grimsby, told News Line: ‘There’s got to be action. We can’t continue on poverty pay. It’s going to get worse if the unions don’t take action and the government don’t listen. It’s going to get worse for patients as well as staff. We have to have a pay rise.’

• THE PCS union’s national executive committee has approved a national ballot of all its public sector members to support breaking the public sector pay cap and seek funding needed for an above-inflation pay rise. The ballot will also consult on willingness to take part in industrial action.
 
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