PROTESTS took place outside hospitals yesterday morning after the call by unions to turn April 1st into a day of action for NHS staff Pay.
Teams of WRP and YS organised mass leafleting of hospitals at 7am as doctors, nurses and NHS staff went in to work.
The leaflet demanded: ‘Reject 1%. 15% pay rise for all NHS workers. TUC call a general strike to win this fight!’
Over 60 people demonstrated outside St Thomas’s Hospital on W estminster Bridge Road, largely made up of staff who had just finished their night shift. They were joined by a delegation of RMT members from London Underground.
There were lively chants of: ‘Boris Johnson hear us shout, pay us properly or get out!’
Phil R, an RMT rep from the Victoria Line, who came with another member to give their support, told News Line: ‘All workers need to stand together to combat the lie that there is no money. There’s plenty of money.
‘They were able to give their friends one billion pounds for something that did not exist. The TUC needs to call action, or individual unions must take co-ordinated action to support proper pay for NHS workers.’
Staff nurse, Grace Davies, told News Line: ‘The proposal for a 1% pay rise is a disgrace. It’s not even worth thinking about. We all deserve to be paid properly! We work hard enough! And especially living in London with the high prices and trying to keep a family. It’s almost impossible.’
Angela Prior, another nurse, said: ‘We are tired, overworked, and broke. We deserve much more than claps.
‘My mother lives in Papua New Guinea, and they have very few vaccines there, just a few that were sent from Australia.
‘I work here and get taxed as a single person, but I still have to try to support my family, and pay for my younger sister’s school fees.’
Mark Boothroyd, from ‘NHS Workers Say No,’ addressed the rally.
He said: ‘The negotiations have been put back to the summer. When we have staff not properly paid, it impacts on patients, it impacts on the public. When I joined the NHS in 2012, there were 10,000 vacancies. Now there are 40,000, and understaffed hospitals are not safe.’
Meanwhile, at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington west London, Christine White, a heath care assistant said: ‘We should get a pay rise because we are hard working and we are giving our all to the trust to make patients lives better. We are working day and night.
‘It’s not an easy task when you have family and children to think about.
‘Most members of staff work with Covid-19 patients and it’s very difficult.
‘We leave our families to come to work, so we deserve a pay rise.’
Riad Ibrahim a senior staff nurse and Unison member, said: ‘It’s not fair as we are the first line of defence against Covid-19.
‘We lost lots of our colleagues due to caring for patients.
‘So a 1% pay rise is nothing. We deserve more. It should be 15%. I have served in the NHS for 20 years.
‘This Tory government have handled this pandemic very badly. They should have started the lockdown sooner because it would have saved more people’s lives.
‘I am from Jordan, and my country had a proper national lockdown, in dealing with this pandemic.
‘With a population of 10 million people, there were only 5,000 deaths.
‘I know that Jordan is a small country compared to Britain but if this country had a proper lockdown and let the NHS run the testing facilities, you would not have had the huge infection rates and deaths.’
At Charing Cross Hospital in west London, ICU staff coming off shift were incensed at the one per cent ‘pay rise’.
Nurse Alessandro Manganiello told News Line: ‘It has been a war for us.
‘We have seen it all. We deserve at least 15 per cent. Everything is so expensive.
‘We do a job that requires heart and soul so we need to step up the fight for the pay rise.’
AT THE DEMONSTRATION outside Ealing Hospital in west London yesterday, Unite Rep Lorna Fraser said: ‘The whole trade union movement should be mobilised and the TUC must call a general strike now to achieve a 15% pay rise for all NHS workers.’
She continued: ‘NHS workers must get 15%. It’s well overdue. We haven’t had a pay rise for years.
‘I cover the three hospitals – Northwick Park, Central Middx and Ealing. I am a moving and handling trainer. I train all clinicians, from the consultants down.
‘I’m a nurse as well. We had a 3% pay rise years ago, which was highlighted as 3% but it was actually just 1% each year. After all NHS workers have gone through, 15% is the least they deserve.’
Healthcare Assistant Forhad Hossain said: ‘We are low paid and we are serving the people. We deserve a decent pay rise. We don’t need 1%, I totally reject it. We must have 15% now.’
Ealing Hospital Consultant Dominic Macleod said: ‘This is a very good hospital and the workers deserve decent pay. The whole community needs this hospital.’
Nurses stopped to talk to leafleters outside Walthamstow’s Whipps Cross Hospital in east London
‘One per cent is an insult!’ Myrna Adriano a staff nurse in Unison said, ‘It does not equate to the risk we face.
‘The best idea is to strike.
‘We must all come out together!’
Shaila Pinto an A&E nurse in the RCN union told News Line: ‘We are struggling to pay our bills. If our union fights for 15% rise on their own and the other unions don’t come out it will just be a an individual struggle. ‘Instead we have to all fight together and all unions come out together.
‘I am happy that my union is getting ready for strike action. At least my own union recognises that nurses are being paid less than the amount needed to live.
‘The politicians got a pay rise, a big one. When you compare a 1% rise to inflation, what they are really offering us is a pay cut!’
Forensic nurse Benjamin Anaedozie working in mental health said: ‘The cuts to the service, the risk we took during the pandemic, this has affected NHS staff. I worked all the way through 2020. We demand a pay rise of 15%. Even 15% is too small for us. The health minister must make it a priority, because of the risk we took.
‘Everyone that works in the NHS must come out on strike. The rest of the working people must back us up.
‘Many of them experienced our NHS services during the pandemic and now they must back our struggle.’
At the Whittington Hospital in Archway north London the Unison hospital branch held a recruitment stall.
Branch secretary Claire Dixon told News Line: ‘We’re here today showing our disgust and contempt for this Tory government at the insulting pay offer to NHS workers after having worked for a whole year risking our lives caring for patients this is all they have to offer.
‘Clapping won’t pay the bills 1% won’t pay the bills.
‘Rents have gone up, council tax has gone up. Our message to this government is we demand a proper living wage a minimum of 15% and a £2,000 one off payment.
‘That is why our members across the country are making the message clear that 1% is a slap across the face.’