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NHS workers set to protest over public sector pay rise snub

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Thousands of NHS workers will be demonstrating this weekend to campaign for ‘pay justice’ after being excluded from recently announced public sector pay rises.

Last month the government announced members of the armed forces, teachers, police officers, prison officers, doctors, the judiciary, senior civil servants and senior military personnel would see an up to 3.1% pay rise this year to reflect their efforts in the battle against Covid-19.

Nearly 900,000 workers were expected to benefit but NHS workers were overlooked, leading to anger and disappointment, particularly as more than 500 NHS and social care staff have died from coronavirus.

Unite which has 100,000 members in the health service said it is supporting those who will take part in the socially-distanced demonstrations taking part in various parts of the UK this Saturday.

It added it is seeking a “substantial pay increase for members” with Nurses United calling for a 15% pay increase.

Unite national officer for health, Jackie Williams, said: “Nursing staff and other allied health professionals have reacted with anger to being overlooked when pay rises were given to many in the public sector last month and the government not hearing the health trade unions’ call to bring their pay rise forward from April 2021.

“Last week, health workers marched to Downing Street to vent their anger that all their efforts during the pandemic, which has claimed so many of their colleagues’ lives, have appeared to be ignored when it comes to recognition in their pay packets.

“Unite is supporting our members wishing to turn out on Saturday. There will be a broad-based rolling campaign for NHS pay justice that will continue for the rest of the year.

“The public expects – and ministers should deliver – a substantial pay increase for NHS staff that reflects their real worth to the NHS and society more generally. NHS workers shouldn’t have to wait till April 2021.”

Unite added that the last three-year pay deal, which ends in April 2021, had started to rectify the pay deficit, “but this now needs to be substantially built on”.

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