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Health Minister Helen Whately ‘too busy’ to meet with NHS workers dismayed by the government’s 1% pay offer

‘How can you pretend to support NHS workers when you won’t even take the time to talk to them and hear their concerns,’ GMB asks

GMB has condemned Health Minister Helen Whately for claiming that she is “too busy” to meet NHS workers dismayed by the government’s 1 per cent pay offer.

The union wrote to Ms Whately last month, inviting her to speak to its members in the health service about ministers’ call for the NHS pay review body to endorse the below-inflation increase when it reports next month.

It came after the minister claimed that pay was “rarely mentioned” when she spoke to health workers. 

Ms Whately’s office replied today that she was “getting many requests for her time” and was “unable to meet at the moment,” GMB said.  

NHS workers have suffered a decade of real-terms wage cuts under the Tories, falling behind inflation to the tune of thousands of pounds a year since 2010.

GMB is demanding a pay rise of 15 per cent or £2 per hour, whichever is higher, to make up for more than a decade of austerity pay.

National officer Rachel Harrison said: “The minister has already shown [she is] out of touch, but we gave her the benefit of the doubt and invited her to hear from NHS workers first-hand.

“For [Ms Whately] to say she is too busy to speak to the workers she is supposed to be responsible for is frankly disgusting.

“How can you pretend to support NHS workers when you won’t even take the time to talk to them and hear their concerns?

“Ambulance workers, cleaners, porters, catering staff, midwives, nurses and more have risked their lives working with inadequate personal protective equipment and a chronic staffing crisis after a decade of budget slashing by the Conservatives.

“Our members are furious and Ms Whately needs to hear them.”

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