TUC calls on government to reconsider pay rise ahead of London demonstration

TUC calls on government to reconsider pay rise ahead of London demonstration

UNION Leader Frances O’Grady joined an NHS picket line in London on Monday in a show of support for striking health workers and midwives.

The TUC General Secretary, whose family hail from Dublin, visited the picket line outside St Pancras Hospital during the national walkout by 400,00 NHS staff, which took place between 7am and 11am.

“NHS staff are always reluctant strikers – there hasn’t been a national strike over pay in the health service since 1982 – and they will do everything they can to protect patients in their care. But morale has hit rock-bottom,” she said.

“Even the Royal College of Midwives, which has have never been on strike, is taking action today,” she added.

Nurses, midwives, paramedics, radiographers, consultants, managers, hospital porters and cleaners, were among the staff who walked out in protest at the government’s refusal to grant them a one per cent pay rise.

“Not only have NHS staff faced year-on-year cuts in the relative value of their pay, ministers have turned down the recommendations of the independent pay review body, even though it called for an affordable, below-inflation pay rise,” Ms O’Grady explained.

“It is no surprise that the NHS is finding it hard to recruit and retain staff as they find themselves squeezed between falling living standards and covering up for NHS cuts,” she added.

The union leader will lead the TUC’s Britain Needs a Pay Rise demonstration in London this Saturday, which is expected to bring tens of thousands of public service workers to the capital.

Seven unions took part in Monday’s strike – UNISON, Royal College of Midwives, Unite, GMB, Managers in Partnership, the Hospital Association of Occupational Therapists and UCATT.

For the remainder of this week the unions will continue their protest with staff taking their proper breaks and only working their contracted hours.

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