Tomorrow campaigners from Sussex Defend the NHS plan to be out on the streets to support NHS workers in their campaign for a decent pay rise.
They will be outside the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton, from noon until 2pm tomorrow (Wednesday 25 August) supporting the Unite union’s day of action.
Clare Jones, a local NHS nurse and Unite staff rep, said: “A below-inflation pay offer is an insult for NHS workers and I fully support my union’s recommendation to reject it.
“I am pleased that the unions are working together and saying ‘not good enough’ to the government.”
The Unite protest follows an NHS protest about pay last week organised by the GMB union.
The government has offered a 3 per cent pay rise which all of the major health unions say is totally inadequate.
The GMB calculated that, when the inflation rate was taken into account, it amounted to a pay rise of less than 0.6 per cent.
For the lowest-paid workers in the NHS, it will mean less than the Real Living Wage (£9.50 an hour) and it’s less than the rise in the cost of housing, food and travel to work.
There are also concerns that it will widen the pay gap within the workforce and make it more difficult for the NHS to recruit and retain staff.
Louise, a local mental health nurse and Unison member, said: “I am voting to reject the offer and I’m prepared to strike. I’m encouraging my colleagues to do the same.”
Kelly, a registered nurse from Brighton and GMB activist, supports her union’s campaign for a 15 per cent pay rise.
She said: “We have faced a decade of austerity so another real-terms pay cut is just rubbing salt into the wound for staff.
“This year it’s actually less than a 1 per cent pay rise in real terms after 4 per cent predicted inflation, and we’ve already seen a 20 per cent pay cut since 2010.
“Also, the NHS is chronically understaffed and this 3 per cent offer isn’t enough to persuade overworked current staff to stay, let alone recruit the new workers we desperately need.”
Sussex Defend the NHS sees this offer as part of the government’s efforts to undermine and privatise the NHS.
It believes that the government has used the pandemic as an excuse to speed up the process, wasting huge amounts of public money keeping private hospitals afloat and funding an unworkable track and trace system.
Instead, it wants the government to fully fund the NHS, including a 15 per cent pay rise for its staff.
Roz Scott is a freelance journalist based in Hove. To read more of her work or subscribe to her blog, visit www.rozscott.com.
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