Burnham says NHS pay offer is an insult

UNISON’s Dave Prentis is joined by Dr Mark Porter, the chair of the board of the BMA, and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady outside the Department of Health Photo: Mark Thomas


Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham met protestors in Liverpool to discuss the question of NHS pay today – although health secretary Jeremy Hunt preferred to look at an exhibition at the NHS Confederation conference.

Labour’s Mr Burnham described the secretary of state’s decision on pay as “a calculated insult to NHS staff”.

The NHS employers’ chief executive Dean Royles did speak to protestors, But while he offered sympathy, he declared that any rise would be “unaffordable”.

Earlier in the day, UNISON’s head of health Christina McAnea had led protestors outside the conference centre as they demonstrated the scale of unpaid overtime that NHS workers donate to the government each year with a cheque representing the amount.

And in London, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis, BMA board chair Dr Mark Porter and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady delivered a similar cheque to the Department of Health to reinforce the point.

In the meantime, across the UK, UNISON members continued to show their anger against the continuing pay freeze.

In Northern Ireland, members were busy across the region making sure that their protests against the lack of a pay rise were heard loud and clear.

They protested outside Antrim Area Hospital, and in Lisburn too, while members at Belfast City Hospital and at Ulster Hospital also made their feelings clear.

In Norwich, mental health staff lined the roadside with banners and placards and leaflets to make sure local people understood what is happening.

At the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, activists handed out pay packets full of peanuts to illustrate just what the health secretary thinks they should get as a pay rise this year – a protest repeated at City Hospital Birmingham too.

Lunchtime protests took off from Basingstoke to Hastings, while London Ambulance Service staff also took to the streets to make the case for decent pay and staff at University College Hospital in the capital held a big rally on the steps outside.

“1% is not enough!” said a placard in Mid Yorkshire, reflecting cold, hard reality for NHS workers across the UK.

UNISON students in Newark, preparing to embark on their NHS careers, spent their lunch hour holding a protest.

And in Plymouth, UNISON members were joined by colleagues from the GMB to protest, with a similar picture being seen outside City of Manchester University Hospital.

Worth It placards popped up in a number of places, with UNISON Notts healthcare branch, members in Leicester and those at Glan Clywd Hospital making use of them in their protests.

Key issue: health pay

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