NHS workers have demonstrated outside Parliament to demand that Boris Johnson stops hiding away from giving them the pay rise they deserve.
Despite saving thousands of lives during the unprecedented stress of the pandemic, the Government is currently prepared to offer just 1% to overworked nurses, paramedics, hospital porters and other frontline health workers.
It is now 300 days since UNISON, the union which represents many employed for the NHS, or for contractors, wrote to the PM asking for a minimum £2,000 annual increase for every health worker.
Since then, there has been little response to the demand from 10 Downing Street.
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On Wednesday, health workers held up placards featuring giant eyes and speech bubbles which read: “All eyes on you Boris”, and “No place to hide on NHS pay.”
Nurse Annette Heslop, 57, who works at the Royal Free Hospital Barnet, in North London, was one of those at the event.
“As a nurse I have worked throughout the pandemic. I also lost my mother to Covid, so I have seen how it has affected people from all angles,” she said.
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“All NHS staff have worked really hard to make sure that the pandemic didn’t get any worse than it did inside hospitals. Nursing is not just a job; it’s a vocation. I enjoy making people better.
“For the Government to say they would do everything for us, and then to offer us 1%, was a real kick in the teeth. It really doesn’t inspire us.
It’s insulting. We deserve more than that. By the time the tax is taken off there is nothing left.
“I don’t know how they even came up with that figure. It’s really out of order, and I am very angry about it.”
Ambulance technician Eddie Brand, 56, said: “I’m here to tell the Government that all NHS workers deserve a decent pay rise after the 18 months we’ve all been through.
“To offer only 1% is obscene really, and it shows a real lack of respect.
During the worst phases of the pandemic all we were doing was picking up people who couldn’t breathe, knowing that the majority of them would probably pass away.
“It was relentless and had a real impact on us. We don’t normally see that level of suffering from day to day.”
Dad-of-two Eddie, from Romford, said those working for the NHS just want a pay rise that “shows respect”.