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NHS staff launched two days of campaigning today, calling for an early and significant pay rise of at least £2,000 for every worker.
Unison members in NHS hospitals, ambulance stations and clinics will be using social media and taking part in socially distanced events to press home the message that health workers deserve much more than applause for their efforts during the pandemic.
Unison’s pay claim, delivered to Downing Street last month, seeks an increase of at least £2,000 for every NHS employee by the end of the year.
The early wage increase, equivalent to around £1 an hour extra for all staff, could give ailing local economies a much-needed boost as workers spend the extra money in their pockets on the high street, Unison said.
With the arrival of autumn and the increasing rates of infection, the union believes that now is the perfect time for the government to show the high regard in which ministers say they hold NHS staff.
Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “Infection rates are rising in care homes and out in the wider community, and hospital admissions are on the up.
“The pressure on staff is beginning to build again, as the NHS tries to open services shut earlier in the year and deal with the backlog of cancelled appointments and operations.”
Ms Gorton said that is why now “would be the perfect time” for PM Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to “show they can do more than clap” for NHS staff and demonstrate their appreciation in a “much more practical way.”
“Boris Johnson’s pie-in-the-sky plans for any time, any place, anywhere ‘moonshot’ testing would cost a mind-boggling £100 billion,” she said.
“An early pay rise for NHS staff would be a tiny fraction of that and would make a huge difference to individuals and the services they help provide.
“Investing in the NHS and its incredible workforce is a must for the government. It would help the health service tackle the mounting staff shortages that were already causing huge problems even before the virus hit.”
Ms Gorton added that an early pay rise would also be the country’s best way of saying a heartfelt thank you to every member of the NHS team.
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