Solidarity with NHS workers – Say NO to 1%!
Defend OUR NHS. Say NO to privatisation. Reverse the Tories’ underfunding/austerity cuts.
“Sheffield Trade Union Council is proud to support NHS health workers and care workers demonstrating tomorrow, Saturday 3rd July on the 73rd anniversary of the birth of our National Health Service, set up by a Labour Government in 1948” said Martin Mayer, Secretary Sheffield TUC. “The NHS was already under huge strain from underfunding and austerity spending cuts before the COVID pandemic, and was stretched to its limits coping with the unbelievable strain of looking after COVID patients this last year and more” he said.
“We salute the tens of thousands of health care professionals who gave their utmost to keep us safe during the crisis, often at great cost to themselves personally” continued Martin Mayer. “Hundreds died themselves from COVID, often because they did not receive the PPE they needed, and all were affected mentally and emotionally by the unprecedented number of seriously ill patients needing intensive care and the huge numbers who died. They deserve more than just a clap – they deserve proper recognition and thanks with a ground-breaking pay rise” he said.
Health workers have been subjected to over 10 years of pay freezes and below inflation pay rises thanks to successive Conservative Government’s austerity attacks on the pay public sector workers. The “NHS Workers Say NO to 1%” campaign and other rank and file groups are calling for a 15% pay rise – but even this would not restore their earnings in full to pre-2010 levels in real terms. Meanwhile the Government has announced just a 1% increase for NHS staff and a 0% pay freeze for all other public sector workers. The Government’s own Pay Review Body is due to report shortly and NHS unions will be watching carefully to see what it recommends and how the Government reacts. The main NHS unions, UNISON, GMB and UNITE have called for significant pay rises this year with some echoing the call for 15%.
“Whilst the Government joined the “Let’s Clap for NHS workers” during the pandemic, it is clear they do not value the fantastic work they have done to keep us safe,” said Martin Mayer. “NHS workers deserve more than a clap – they deserve a proper pay rise and we believe most of the public would agree with us.”
“Let us not forget the hard-pressed workers in our care homes and the wider care service. Many are on little more than the Minimum Wage yet had to bear the brunt of the first wave of the COVID pandemic with next to no PPE and many were forced to “live in” at the care homes for weeks and months on end in order to protect the residents from further risk of infection” concluded Martin Mayer.
The rally and march in Sheffield is organised by Sheffield Save Our NHS together with NHS Workers Say NO! Everyone who supports our NHS and NHS staff is invited to attend. There will be national speakers as well as local health professionals speaking about their experiences in Sheffield hospitals coping with the COVID crisis. NHS workers need the support of all the trade unions and the wider public to put pressure on the Conservative Government to pay NHS staff a decent pay rise. We also need to send a strong message that the NHS is not for sale and that privatisation and fragmentation of the NHS has been a disaster and must be reversed.
For more information contact Martin Mayer Secretary Sheffield TUC on 0776 107 8482
Mick Suter is Chair of Sheffield Save Our NHS. He can be contacted on 07380139142