Nurses and midwives are preparing to march for “fair pay” at the weekend, as part of an event organised by the Trades Union Congress.
Saturday’s march through London follows Monday’s strike action by NHS members of unions, including Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Midwives.
“Enough is enough and now is the time to take a stand”
Health workers in England will be protesting at the government’s decision not to award a 1% pay rise to all NHS staff, against the advice of the independent Pay Review Body.
But the march, dubbed Britain Needs a Pay Rise by the TUC, will involve unions from a variety of different professions as well as the public sector and NHS. It will culminate in a rally in Hyde Park.
The TUC said the event was intended to help call for an “economic recovery that works for all Britons, not just those right at the top”.
“Wages have fallen in real terms every year since 2010. We believe that as growth returns to the UK economy, everyone should get a fairer share in the recovery,” said the union umbrella body in a statement.
The RCM, which went on strike for the first time in its 133 year history on Monday, said midwife and maternity support workers would “be out in force” on Saturday.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the college, said she had been “overwhelmed by the huge response” from RCM members to industrial action.
“It shows the depth of feeling on this and the levels of anger and discontent among our members,” she said. “I really encourage those that can make it to join us on Saturday so that we can show the government just how strong their feelings are and how much support there is for fair pay.
“For too long our members and their fellow workers have suffered pay freezes with income rapidly falling behind the real cost of living,” she said. “Enough is enough and now is the time to take a stand.”
They will be joined in the capital by members of the Royal College of Nursing, which did not take part in the strike and four-day work to rule that followed.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: “This march sends a clear message to the government – nurses and other NHS workers are angry that they have been expected to plug the gaps in NHS funds, while trying to cope with the effects of understaffing.”
Estephanie Dunn, RCN regional director for the North West, said she looked forward to joining other unions and RCN members from across the country to “make our voices heard” over the government’s “unfair decision” not to award a blanket 1% pay rise.
“There has been significant and growing anger amongst out members at the four years of pay restraint imposed upon them, while they have kept the NHS going through years of understaffing and increasing demand,” she said.