The union is asking the public to stand on their doorsteps and balconies to protest next Thursday (11 March) at 8pm. This is to show what they think about the government’s pay offer, which UNISON says is derisory.
The slow handclap will be repeated three weeks later on April 1, the day staff were due to have their next wage increase.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Millions stood on doorsteps and clapped for health staff who’ve given their all. Let’s now stand up for their right to fair wages.
“Give the chancellor a slow hand clap for his miserly one percent. Times may be tough but this deal is below-inflation and derisory. It’s like the worst of austerity is back.
“NHS staff have worked throughout the darkest days in health service history. They were expecting a fair increase that reflects their exceptional efforts.
“Nurses, midwives, porters, cleaners and other health workers are upset, hurt and angry. There were 100,000 vacancies even before Covid hit. Now the health service will be losing staff quicker than they can recruit new ones.
“This offer isn’t just bad for staff. It’s bad for the NHS and the patients it cares for.”
Notes to editors:
– The slow hand clap will take place on Thursday 11 March and on Thursday 1 April at 8pm.
– UNISON is calling on the government to give all NHS workers a pay rise of at least £2,000.
– Health workers are currently in the final year of a three-year deal. They’re due a pay rise in April but unions have been campaigning for the government to show its appreciation for NHS employees by bringing that forward. The government failed to commit to this last summer when wage increases for 900,000 workers elsewhere in the public sector were announced. A rise has now been promised by the chancellor but not until after the formal NHS pay review body reports back in May. This is likely to mean that NHS staff will not get a pay rise until July at the earliest, say the unions. Health secretary Matt Hancock has also said the increase must be determined by ‘affordability’ and Rishi Sunak has warned of restraint in future public sector pay awards.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.
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