NHS staff protest at Ipswich Hospital for national pay rise
PUBLISHED: 18:33 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:33 26 August 2020
Around 50 frontline NHS workers gathered at Ipswich Hospital today to take part in a rally for fairer pay for staff as part of a national protest.
The event was organised by a local branch of the NHS Workers Say No group after nurses and junior doctors were left out of a government pay deal following the Covid-19 crisis.
While chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a pay rise of between 3% and 3% for 9,000 public sector workers, nurses and junior doctors were excluded as their salaries are based on contracts not yet up for renewal.
Sue and Xylina, who asked to be known only by their first names, are nurses who work in Suffolk and started the NHS Suffolk Pay Justice Hub together.
They organised the protest from 11am until 5pm outside the Garrett Anderson Centre today.
Sue said: “We are trying to get as much support as we can from NHS staff to encourage the unions to back a pay deal for a 15% pay rise.
“This would be for all NHS staff, not just nurses, because the porters, physios, admin staff are all equally as important to running a hospital.
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“The 15% rise isn’t a figure we plucked out of thin air, it’s what we’re due.”
The pair got a total of 50 signatures on their petition and are planning on hosting more protests in the future after the success on Wednesday and another protest they held in March.
Sue added: “After the pay deal in 2018 many top band staff have been left worse off than before and there are nurses who are relying on foodbanks to get by.
“With Downing Street coming out to clap for us it felt like a kick in the teeth after everything we’ve done during Covid-19.
“We didn’t sign up for this and we have been risking our lives with people sacrificing so much so that they can keep working – the public sector workers getting a pay rise was the breaking point really.”
There are a total of 36 cities and town across the country which have taken part in protests as well as Badge Wednesday, where staff wear badges to work promoting the 15% pay rise campaign.
According to Sue and Xylina, their short term goal is to secure a long overdue pay rise and then long term to secure the future of the NHS from privatisation.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are incredibly grateful for the hard work and dedication of all our health and care staff during the pandemic, and we will continue to ensure all staff are rewarded fairly. “We are committed to supporting our NHS and everyone working in it, and the recently published NHS People Plan sets out how the NHS will improve physical and mental support for all staff. “The Agenda for Change deal has delivered year-on-year pay increases for our valued NHS staff, including increasing the starting salary for a newly qualified nurse by over 12%.”
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