NHS staff held a demonstration on Millennium Square today (May 15th) to demand a 15% “restorative” pay rise for the work they have done during the pandemic.
Grassroots campaign NHS Workers Say No Bristol organized the demo to call for a 15% pay rise for all NHS staff.
In its spring budget, the government announced that NHS staff would receive only a 1% pay rise, a decision which received widespread condemnation at the time.
Alex, 26, a nurse working for NHS Bristol Trust, addressed the crowd of around 35 people to argue that a 1% pay rise equates to, on average, £3.50 a week, or ‘a cup of coffee, a meal day, parking at an NHS hospital for a couple of hours.’
NHS Workers Say No is campaigning for a ‘restorative 15% pay uplift for all NHS workers’ which would, Alex said, ‘[repair] the injury that a decade of pay restraint, including pay freezes and austerity, has done to our pay packets.’
Alex was followed on the mic by representatives from unions, including the National Education Union, and the TUC.
Also speaking was Green party councillor Carla Denyer (who is the local ward councillor for Millennium Square).
Carla said ‘Since 2010, successive governments, as you know, have imposed a public sector pay freeze that has led to a real terms reduction of around 15%, so a 15% pay rise demand now is not unreasonable.
‘It would right the wrongs of austerity and reverse the pay erosion and the pay poverty that has affected some of our most committed and dedicated NHS workers.’
Before closing his speech, Alex asked a poignant question to the audience: ‘if it wasn’t for the hard work of NHS staff…where do you think we’d be in terms of the pandemic right now?’
Alex encouraged the crowd to help out by spreading the word, writing to your MP, joining the FaceBook group, and, if you’re an NHS worker, joining a union.