NHS pay campaign: #2daysfor2k kicks off around the UK

Health workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are demanding an immediate wage increase of at least £2,000 for all NHS staff

In the latest instalment of the #2daysfor2k campaign taking place now, health workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are taking part in  a whole host of imaginative ways to demand a real pay rise.

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “NHS staff have given their all during the pandemic.  But despite their incredible efforts, the Westminster government says a meagre 1% rise is all they’re worth. We have to apply maximum pressure to force them to admit they’ve got this badly wrong.

“The record number of patients waiting for treatment shows the huge challenges ahead for the NHS. A £2k wage increase now could stop staff feeling unloved and taken for granted, and persuade many thinking of walking away, to stay.

“It’s great to see all the activity from branches and members around the regions on this two days for 2k – and with another burst coming up on 23-25 June this should inspire even more to get involved”

UNISON Health have created an NHS pay monitor, which calculates how much pay each NHS worker has missed out on since 1 April 2021, when UNISON argues they should have been given a pay increase.

Use the NHS pay monitor to contact your MP and demand a pay increase for NHS workers.

Here’s a roundup of some of the activities so far across the UK.

East Surrey

UNISON members at East Surrey hospital protested outside their workplace, holding a banner that said ‘we deserve a real pay rise’.

UNISON members with megaphone standing behind banner that says 'we deserve a real pay rise'

UNISON Area Organiser Mick Moriarty said: “NHS workers are exhausted and burnt out after the most difficult year imaginable.

“Staff at the hospital should have been looking forward to extra money in their pockets this month, but instead they’re still waiting. Every day that passes without an increase is another day frontline workers are being told they aren’t valued by our politicians.

“1% is effectively a pay cut and after everything NHS workers have been through this year, it would be a real slap in the face. That’s why UNISON is calling for the government to do the right thing and award at least a £2,000 pay rise for all NHS workers. It’s a fair and affordable increase, and one that’s strongly supported by the public.”

West Midlands

UNISON members in the West Midlands have begun a two-week bus tour throughout the region, featuring a purple double decker bus emblazoned with slogans ‘NHS staff deserve more than 1%’ and ‘A £2,000 pay increase for all NHS staff’.

East Midlands

UNISON East Midlands shared this moving campaign video.

North West

North West held an online NHS pay rally last Thursday, and are hosting a health activity fortnight in the region, which brings together various health campaigns. One of them includes a campaign to ensure healthcare assistants are paid for the work that they do above their grade.

Staff at Aintree hospital:

Hospital staff standing by a table with signs saying 'pay up now'

For years, Band 2 Healthcare Assistants in NHS trusts across Greater Manchester have been performing duties above their pay grade to provide clinical care to patients.

UNISON branch secretary for Stepping Hill hospital and Healthcare Assistant David McAllister said: “Healthcare Assistants within the trust are paid as a band 2, which is meant to be personal care only. The reality is that most Healthcares are doing observations, bloods and ECGs, which are considered band 3 clinical duties. I’ve been a Healthcare Assistant for 20 years, and doing a lot of clinical duties – the pay difference adds up to around £18,000 in missed wages.”

Staff from Wigan and Leigh health branch in North West showed their strength of feeling:

Three female nurses behind sign that says 'a pay rise for all NHS staff'

In South Tees, international nurses’ day on 14 May wasn’t just about celebrations, it was about getting a fair pay rise for the whole NHS team.

Nurses outside South Tees hospital holding placards


Wales have got a bus – doing a tour of North and mid Wales (and it’ll tour South Wales for the next 2 days for 2k in June).

2daysfor2k Wales battle bus


Northern Ireland

UNISON Northern Ireland celebrated international nurses’ day last week with cakes and campaign placards:

Two nurses, one holding a placard that says 'a pay rise for all NHS staff now' and one carrying a box of cakes

If you have organised a day of action in your area, and it has not been covered here, please contact editorial@unison.co.uk.