NHS workers march to Downing Street to demand pay justice Wednesday 29th July

Press release on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public – for IMMEDIATE USE

NHS workers march to Downing Street to demand pay justice Wednesday 29th July

The Unite The Union branch at Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital has partnered with Keep Our NHS Public [1] and Nurses United [2] to hold a march to Downing Street on Wednesday 29th July [3] to protest the government’s decision to put off a pay rise for NHS staff until April 2021. This socially distanced event will assemble outside St Thomas’s Hospital in London at 5pm and begin a march to Downing Street at 6pm where speeches will then be held. It is part of a nationwide movement of NHS staff demanding an immediate pay rise. The march will be attended and supported by hundreds of NHS staff across the capital.

Since 2010, NHS workers have experienced around a 20% real-terms pay cut. A Band 5 NHS nurse is over £6,000 worse off today than ten years ago, due to the failure of salaries to keep up with the rate of inflation.[4] Low paid NHS staff are finding it increasingly difficult to manage in London, as rent and the cost of living soars.

A Royal College of Nursing survey undertaken this year reports that 36% of respondents are now considering leaving the profession. Of these, 61% cite pay as the primary factor. [5] With around 40,000 nursing vacancies in England alone, this has serious implications for the future of nursing and the NHS. Staffing levels are already low, compromising patient safety, and this is being exacerbated by the scrapping of the student bursary and introduction of extortionate tuition fees, leaving graduates tens of thousands of pounds in debt, prior to even qualifying.

Iain Wilson, nurse and member of Keep Our NHS Public says:

“I’m tired of this government letting us down. They lie about privatising our jobs, about recruiting 50,000 more nurses and about PPE during the pandemic. Things can’t improve in the NHS without more staff to care for our aging population, and we won’t have more staff until existing staff are trusted and valued, so that more people want to join us. After everything we’ve done, we deserve better, and a pay rise should be the start.”

Nurse Mark Boothroyd, branch Secretary of Unite union branch at Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital says:

“NHS workers have been criminally let down by this government. Despite all our sacrifices, the government has not included nurses in the pay deal for public sector workers. We have worked masses of overtime, isolated from our families, and lost over 540 of our colleagues to COVID-19. We are not valued. NHS workers deserve a pay rise after a decade of austerity for the 20% pay cut since 2010, and to address the 40,000 vacancies across the NHS that puts our patients at risk.”

Spokespeople are available for broadcast interview. For more information please contact Samantha Wathen, press officer for Keep Our NHS Public [email protected] or call: 07776047472
Nurse Mark Boothroyd, branch Secretary for Unite The Union can be contacted on: 07812936466

Notes to editors

  1. Keep Our NHS Public is a national independent organisation campaigning for a well-funded, publicly owned and provided NHS www.keepournhspublic.com
  2. Nurses United is a grassroots network of nurses supporting nurses https://www.nursesunited.org.uk/
  3. Link to Wednesday’s Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1143394586045713/
  4. https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/workforce/anger-over-health-and-social-care-secretarys-comments-on-nurse-pay-18-05-2020/
  5. https://www.rcn.org.uk/news-and-events/news/uk-members-have-spoken-survey-shows-increase-in-those-considering-leaving-the-profession-170720