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Furious nurses say no pay increase after COVID-19 work is ‘kick in the teeth’

Hundreds of healthcare staff marched on Whitehall to demand a pay rise after risking their lives during the pandemic
Rebecca Reid, a 27-year-old London-based nurse from Prestwick in Scotland. Picture: PA

Hundreds of healthcare staff marched on Whitehall to demand a pay rise after risking their lives during the pandemic

Nurses protesting over pay have said that no wage increase for nurses this year 'feels like a kick in the teeth' from the government in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of NHS staff marched on Whitehall, London on 29 July demanding an immediate pay rise in an event organised by the Unite union of Guys and St Thomas Hospital branch and the Nurses United and Keep Our NHS Public groups.

Growing indignation as nurses left out of public sector wage increase

One nurse who attended, Rebecca Reid, said there was anger among NHS staff who had worked through the pandemic

Hundreds of healthcare staff marched on Whitehall to demand a pay rise after risking their lives during the pandemic


Nurse Rebecca Reid: ‘I don’t see Batman going to a food bank. Heroes still have to pay the bills' 
Picture: PA

Nurses protesting over pay have said that no wage increase for nurses this year 'feels like a kick in the teeth' from the government in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of NHS staff marched on Whitehall, London on 29 July demanding an immediate pay rise in an event organised by the Unite union of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital branch and the Nurses United and Keep Our NHS Public groups.

Growing indignation as nurses left out of public sector wage increase

One nurse who attended, Rebecca Reid, said there was anger among NHS staff who had worked through the pandemic and felt let down by government.

'It feels like a kick in the teeth. As a profession, we looked after the prime minister himself. He’s seen how brilliant we can be. And this is the reward we get,' she said.

'We’re getting called heroes. But I don’t see Batman going to a food bank. Heroes still have to pay the bills.'

The profession has seen growing indignation since the government announced wage increases for 900,000 public sector workers, including doctors and teachers, last week.

Nurses and other Agenda for Change staff are in the final year of a three-year pay deal, but unions want government to show its appreciation for NHS staff by offering them a pandemic-related wage rise this year.

PM Boris Johnson accused of having ‘blood on his hands’ over PPE failure

Ms Reid also accused prime minister Boris Johnson of having 'blood on his hands', referring to issues around inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), which she said saw nurses 'putting their lives at risk.'

'Our government had a chance to fix that and plan for that. They didn’t. He’s got blood on his hands. We lost so many nurses,’ 

Another nurse, who asked to be referred to only as Sarah, said: 'Morale still needs to be kept up and Mr Johnson's kicked us in the teeth by leaving us out of this pay rise.'

The march follows a Unison survey, which polled over 2,000 adults, finding two thirds (69%) think NHS staff should receive a pay rise this year.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it was grateful for the hard work and dedication of the NHS and social care workforce during the pandemic.

'We will continue to ensure all staff are rewarded fairly,' they said.

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