NHS workers to stage a protest in Portsmouth demanding better pay from the government
HEALTH campaigners demanding better pay for NHS workers will be staging a rally in Portsmouth over the weekend.
The protest is part of a national series of marches set to take place in 35 cities across England to mark the health service’s 73rd birthday.
Campaigners will be gathering outside the Kings Theatre, in Albert Road, Southsea from midday before marching down to Castle Field, where speeches are expected to take place.
The rally is in response to a proposed one per cent pay rise for the NHS by the government – a sum which has been condemned by union members.
A similar demonstration saw hundreds of people take to the city’s streets in August demanding better pay.
The NHS Pay Review Body and government response is expected soon, and officials from Unite say the government's rise will come nowhere to making up the pay cuts health workers have taken ‘of up to 20 percent in real terms over the last decade’.
They say NHS workers have undergone greater strain than normal over the past 18 months in working throughout the pandemic.
Unison, which represent thousands of health workers in the country, has demanded the prime minister to back a £2,000 pay rise for all NHS staff.
Speaking ahead of the national march this weekend, Christina McAnea, Unison general secretary, said: ‘All eyes are now on the prime minister. He either has – or will have within days – the evidence gathered by the NHS pay review body. Boris Johnson is now the only person standing between health workers and a wage rise.
‘Scottish NHS employees have been recognised by the government there, which has shown it values everything staff have done this past year. Now, it’s the turn of the Westminster government to demonstrate its support for the NHS. The ball is well and truly in the prime minister’s court.
‘All along Boris Johnson has had it within his gift to reward NHS staff, but he’s chosen not to, preferring to use the pay review body process as an excuse for delay.
‘Further time-wasting runs the risk that more health workers will leave. With the huge backlog of treatments and operations looming over the NHS, that would be disastrous for everyone.’