Hundreds of health staff across the North East of England – including nurses, paramedics, cleaners, domestics and porters – are writing to the region’s 29 MPs asking them to back UNISON’s call for NHS staff to get an early pay rise in time for Christmas.
Staff employed in hospitals, clinics and ambulance stations across the North East of England are urging local politicians to put their case to the government for a significant pay rise of at least £2,000 for every worker across the NHS.
The NHS pay rise is due next April, but health workers, already worn out from the early stages of the pandemic, say bringing the increase forward would help staff feel more valued as the second wave surges.
Bringing the planned wage rise forward a few months would also place the NHS in a better position to face the future, say North East health workers.
The pandemic has affected staff profoundly and many may choose to leave the NHS, such are the levels of exhaustion says UNISON. Raising pay this year could persuade staff to change their minds and make the NHS more attractive to thousands of much-needed recruits, adds the union.
With the arrival of winter, the second virus wave and the increasing rates of infection, UNISON believes now is the perfect time for the government to show the high regard in which ministers say they hold NHS staff.
UNISON Northern regional secretary, Clare Williams said: “Health workers are exhausted from the first virus peak. They’re now dealing with the second wave and a backlog of cancelled treatments.
“We can rely on them as always to protect and care for us all. But staff are fearful and anxious because they know what lies ahead.
“Now is the time for a significant pay rise from the government. Workers doing the job would then feel valued, and an increase could attract much-needed new recruits.”
North East health workers calling for a pay rise include:
Hannah, an Occupational Therapist and she said “Staff would know that the government really means what it says about appreciating the work we do especially in difficult times. It is nice to be told that your work makes a difference but words are cheap and we have heard the same rhetoric for years. It’s time that the people who make a difference can see a difference in their own lives.”
Julie, a Nurse Practitioner said “I would feel that the NHS staff were finally been recognised for the job that they do. I feel that the government do not value the NHS and have tried to dismantle it piece by piece over the years and sneak in privatisation through the back door. Its not about the money for me, its about being recognised for the skills and experience we all have and been given the respect we deserve. We dedicate our lives to caring for people so its about time people cared about the NHS staff”