Fresh campaign launched for NHS workers pay rise

Nurse Elaine at the protest over pay outside Ipswich hospital. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Campaigners for a pay rise in Ipswich last year - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A fresh campaign has been launched calling on the government to allocate cash in the 2021 Budget for a health workers pay rise.

The Fair Pay for Key Workers campaign being run by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is calling for a pay rise for all NHS key workers who have been instrumental during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is calling on the government to up the minimum wage to £10 per hour from the current £8.72, halt public sector pay freezes, and ensure outsourced workers for public services are paid the Real Living Wage.

The union's Ipswich and District branch has been lobbying Ipswich MP Tom Hunt as part of its efforts.

Demostration at Chatterbox Centre in Ipswich to oppose changes to the children's centre. Secretary o

Ipswich and District TUC branch president Teresa Mackay said health workers had risked their lives going to work - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Teresa Mackay, president of the branch, said: "It's about fair pay for NHS workers - they have not had an increase now since 2010.

"We have clapped them, praised them for all they did during the pandemic, and yet this government is not prepared to pay them a decent wage.

"Some are living in real hardship, putting their health at risk with the coronavirus pandemic.

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"These are people that we need - they are part of our [health] system, and without them where would we be?"

Demonstrations were held last summer, and further activity is expected in the run up to the Chancellor's Budget on March 3.

In his spending review in the autumn, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that NHS staff would be exempt from a wider public sector pay freeze in 2021.

That included a commitment for a minimum £250 increase for those on less than £24,000 in the NHS.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has said he is concerned about the drop in number of children attending school P

Conservative Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has said his door is open to constituency NHS workers to discuss pay and conditions - Credit: Archant

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, Conservative, said: "There is huge support for our key workers and NHS workers.

"I am on record for having said before the announcement in the autumn that NHS frontline workers should get a pay increase, and there is a significant desire from the large majority of my constituents that they want to thank the NHS workers that have played a key role in saving lives across the constituency.

"Despite the major pressure on public finances what we have seen is a government that plans to bring forward an increase in NHS pay, which I think is a clear message that we all value NHS workers.

"My door has been, and will always be, 110% open to any constituents of mine who works with the NHS who would like to discuss pay and conditions."

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