Hundreds march across country calling for fair pay for NHS workers

  • london
  • August 8, 2020
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Hundreds of protesters have been marching across the UK this afternoon calling for fair pay for NHS workers.

Doctors, nurses, other NHS staff and their supporters took to cities including London, Glasgow and Cardiff demanding more recognition for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The largest groups were in London, making their way to Downing Street to challenge Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Dave Carr is a critical care nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where Mr Johnson was treated in intensive care.

He attended the protest and said of the pandemic: ‘I’ve got 21 years working in critical care and for me that experience was tough.

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‘I was drained, wearing all the PPE, incredibly long shifts. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and we’re all exhausted.’

He said ‘there’s a lot of PTSD around’ among colleagues and that many are worried about the possibility of a second wave.

‘We can’t do the job any more, we had to shut down the NHS to fight Covid and now we’re expected to just turn it back on,’ Mr Carr added.

‘We’re on our knees, absolutely on our knees. And on top of it they give 900,000 public sector workers a pay rise – and I haven’t got a problem with that – but they carve us out.

‘I’m absolutely fuming. Tired and fuming. We’ve had enough.’

Crowds gathered on Horse Guards Parade ahead of the protest as a samba band led people in chants of ‘one two three four five, keep our NHS alive’.

They also held a two-minute silence in memory of their colleagues who had died from Covid-19.

A blue banner reading ‘End NHS pay inequality, together we win’ led the march as protesters made their way through Whitehall to Downing Street.

Many were carrying placards, including one which said: ‘Boris remember my neighbour Lewis, what about his pay rise? He saved your life now reward us.’

Marchers were applauded by members of the public as they arrived outside Number 10.

Many participants were wearing scrubs or other NHS uniforms, and chanted: ‘Boris Johnson hear us shout, Pay us properly or get out.’

NHS workers also gathered at the Senedd, in Cardiff Bay, and in Glasgow Green this afternoon to call for fair pay.

The marches come after the Government did not commit to an early pay rise for all NHS staff last month when wage increases for 900,000 public sector workers were announced.

NHS workers first marched at the end of July demanding a pay rise – but have stepped up their numbers this weekend.

A survey by Unison suggested more than two-thirds (69%) of people think all NHS employees should be awarded a rise this year.

The union’s poll of more than 2,000 British adults found that two-thirds believed a wage increase should be significant in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The survey found that just one in 10 thinks health workers should wait until April for a rise.

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