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GMB members at St Helier hospital unite to demand a better pay deal

DISENCHANTED workers at Epsom’s St Helier Hospital gathered today to demand a fair pay deal.

GMB union members met outside the hospital during their lunch hours to drive home the message that the pay proposal by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt “has not lived up to the hype.”

Regional organiser Helen O’Connor said it was clear from the protest that staff are “underwhelmed and angry” over a deal that falls short of what had been promised by the government.

“People feel betrayed by the deal, having opened their pay packets and now realising how bad the offer really is,” she told the Star.

The majority of unions representing NHS staff, except for GMB, initially supported the deal.

Ms O’Connor said: “We are having more nurses join the GMB as we were the only union that advised against voting in favour of the proposal. GMB gave the right advice and the staff want a union that will actually fight for their rights.

“There are many issues in the NHS apart from pay, such as understaffing. If trade unions do not start organising properly to protect the service, we won’t have a NHS after the cuts.”

Coming after years of pay freezes and real-terms cuts, the deal claimed to provide an immediate £2,000 increase for lower-paid NHS staff to take their earnings above the living wage and a three per cent pay rise was also promised.

Now staff are discovering that only those at the top of their pay band will receive this. The rest will receive an average increase of about 1.5 per cent.

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