Football pundit Gary Lineker, comedian Jo Brand and Hollywood star David Oyelowo are among celebrities backing a fair pay campaign launched today (Monday) by health unions.
To mark International Thank You Day, the 14 unions are urging the public to use social media to champion the vital work of all health staff by supporting a decent pay rise.
The unions – representing workers including 1.3 million nurses, cleaners, administrators, physiotherapists, healthcare assistants, dieticians, radiographers, porters, midwives, paramedics, and other NHS employees – are asking people to share hashtags such as #FairPay, and to message their MPs.
Also taking part on the day will be DJ Annie Mac, TV presenter Konnie Huq, and Deborah Meaden, the Dragon’s Den investor and businesswoman.
A video released to mark the event features a diverse range of the staff who keep the NHS running and continue to do so through the pandemic.
UNISON head of health Sara Gorton, who also chairs the NHS group of unions, said: “The NHS is facing the worst crisis in its history.
“Everyone is relying on health workers in many different roles to see us through. Clapping has been a way of showing support, but the government now needs to pay up.”
Chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing Donna Kinnair said: “Last year, nursing staff were buoyed by overwhelming public gratitude. Today presents a new and different way to display that same strength of feeling.
“But health care staff need to hear long after today there’s public support to treat them better, recognise their skill and pay them fairly.”
Executive director for external relations at the Royal College of Midwives Jon Skewes, who is also treasurer for the NHS group of unions, said: “NHS staff are currently holding the country together. They’re facing a challenge like never before, which is made worse by staffing shortages.
“The government needs to act now to acknowledge their contribution and commitment. Ministers must give staff an early and significant pay rise that would help restore their pay in real terms. It would also ensure there are enough staff to future-proof the NHS.”
Notes to editors:
– International Thank You Day will go live at 9am on Monday 11 January 2021.
– Click here to watch the video featuring health staff.
– The 14 NHS unions are: British Association of Occupational Therapists, British Dietetic Association, British Orthoptic Society, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, College of Podiatry, Federation of Clinical Scientists, GMB, Managers in Partnership, Prison Officers Association, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Society of Radiographers, UNISON and Unite.