Lancaster and Morecambe residents urged to join mass slow hand clap in protest at 'miserly' NHS pay rise plans

Lancaster and Morecambe residents are being called on to join in a mass slow hand clap in support of the NHS tonight.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 10:37 am
Families take part in a clap for the NHS held during the first lockdown in 2020.

Public service union UNISON has urged everyone across the country to join the clap against the chancellor’s proposed one per cent rise for NHS staff.

The union is asking the public to stand on their doorsteps and balconies to protest tonight, Thursday, at 8pm.

This is to show what they think about the government’s pay offer, which UNISON says is derisory.

UNISON is instead calling on the government to give all NHS workers a pay rise of at least £2,000.

The slow hand clap will then be repeated three weeks later on April 1, the day staff are due to have their next wage increase.

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Millions stood on doorsteps and clapped for health staff who’ve given their all. Let’s now stand up for their right to fair wages.

“Give the chancellor a slow hand clap for his miserly one per cent. Times may be tough but this deal is below-inflation and derisory. It’s like the worst of austerity is back.

“NHS staff have worked throughout the darkest days in health service history. They were expecting a fair increase that reflects their exceptional efforts.

“Nurses, midwives, porters, cleaners and other health workers are upset, hurt and angry. There were 100,000 vacancies even before Covid hit. Now the health service will be losing staff quicker than they can recruit new ones.

“This offer isn’t just bad for staff. It’s bad for the NHS and the patients it cares for.”

UNISON North West health committee chair Michelle England said: “The chancellor and the prime minister should be ashamed of treating health staff so shabbily. This is the chance for the public to call them out on pay. Tonight could be the start of a campaign which forces the Government to U-turn over NHS pay.

“Everyone in the NHS has coped in the toughest conditions this past year. Many have faced the trauma of patients dying, the exhaustion from endless shifts and the strain of chronic understaffing.

“Yet the government has shown them zero respect for keeping the NHS on its feet. Now let’s give health staff our support this evening by showing the government exactly what we all think of its one per cent pay proposal.”

Health workers are currently in the final year of a three-year deal. They’re due a pay rise in April but unions have been campaigning for the government to show its appreciation for NHS employees by bringing that forward.

A rise has been promised by the chancellor but not until after the formal NHS pay review body reports back in May. This is likely to mean that NHS staff will not get a pay rise until July at the earliest, say the unions.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has also said the increase must be determined by ‘affordability’ and Rishi Sunak has warned of restraint in future public sector pay awards.