Nurses and GMB, the union for NHS workers, are supporting a second national day of protest marches and rallies across the country. The union, which has been at the forefront of the fight for fair pay for all workers in the NHS, is supporting hard working NHS staff as they try to convince the Government that they deserve a 15% pay rise.
Protests tomorrow, Saturday 12th September, will be peaceful and socially distanced at Hove Lawns opposite Grand Avenue at 11am as well as at the BBC in London and Bournemouth.
Kelly Robbins, who is the rally organiser and a nurse said: “We were feeling overworked and exhausted as many of us were forced to work longer hours, tougher hours, staying away from our families for weeks at a time, fighting an ever-evolving situation with inadequate PPE, but fought on we did.
“Whilst seeing one of the highest healthcare worker death rates in the world from Covid-19, we accepted the risk, determined to do what’s best for our patients and the country.
“Ministers have been happy to ‘clap for the NHS’ but have failed to deliver real signs of appreciation for NHS workers – excluding many from a well-deserved pay rise and resulting in yet another real-terms cut.
“The Government has easily forgotten and abandoned the very same people that have saved their lives.”
Ms Robbins and other GMB NHS members are angry that they were left out of the recent public sector pay deal and are at least 20% worse off in real terms than they were 10 years ago.
There are currently around 100,000 vacancies in the NHS because of under resourcing and funding cuts and morale is very low among NHS nurses and other staff.
According to GMB, platitudes and clapping are being offered by the government instead of decent pay or improvements to terms and conditions. The NHS workforce has proven itself to be consistently reliable and caring, even before the heroism of fighting the Covid crisis which is ongoing.
NHS workers have paid a huge cost in treating people with COVID. Many of their colleagues have lost their lives, yet they remain ignored when it comes time for the care bill to be settled. GMB is concerned that the hard work by nurses will be used as evidence for further austerity and cuts by the government.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “GMB were clear that the 15% only begins to address the last decade of pay freezes and enforced pay caps, ending in the recent disastrous three year deal which ends in April. It saw long serving NHS staff pay increases below the cost of living.
“Frankly our members have told us enough is enough, and that although the support was welcomed the ‘Praise, Clapping, and Kind Words’ aren’t exchangeable in the shops for food or bills and rent or mortgage payments.
“Risking your life and that of your family members to care for all those unfortunate enough to get sick throughout this the pandemic wasn’t enough for this government.
“They don’t appear to be considering bringing any pay rise forward as a thank you, before even taking into account just how much NHS staff have lost in real terms over the last 10 years.
“This is clearly now a straight battle between a worthless government and a priceless workforce, with the GMB backing the NHS workers all the way.
“They remain there for you! How about being there for them? Join GMB and NHS workers on Saturday 12th September at a NHS rally near you!”