‘It’s a slap in the face, not a clap’ - NHS workers march in Norwich for pay rise
PUBLISHED: 14:13 08 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:57 09 August 2020
Scores of people, carrying banners and placards, took part in a march through Norwich on Saturday demanding a 15pc pay increase to recover a decade of lost wages for NHS workers.
Protesters, many of whom where wearing blue ribbons in remembrance of NHS workers who have lost their lives during the coronavirus outbreak, gathered in Chapelfield Gardens shortly before 11am on Saturday before marching to City Hall and back again.
The march was conducted in silence to highlight how some people feel NHS workers have been ignored by the government.
The protest was one of dozens taking place across the country, following an initial march in London on July 29, which came after nurses, health care assistants, social carers and paramedics were excluded from a public sector pay increase.
The government has previously said nurses are covered by a three-year pay deal made in 2018.
Catherine Taylor, who co-organised the march, said: “Today’s march is to show the government we feel that we have not been remembered in the pay rise. We’ve been told we have a pay rise, 4pc over three years, but that’s not bringing us up to the level we should have for pay.
“It doesn’t equate to enough to get us back where were 10 years ago, and it’s causing a lot of poverty among NHS staff.
“We need to be heard.”
Commenting on the role the NHS had played through the pandemic, Mrs Taylor said: “It’s been a hard few months for everyone we have all up skilled and retrained and moved different areas.
“People have left their families and moved for three months so they don’t bring [coronavirus] back to their families and it felt like at the time we were really appreciated, supported and people could see how skilled we are and now it just feels like a slap in the face rather than a clap, people are very disheartened.”
Mrs Taylor said she felt the NHS had the public support and the backing of other public sector workers who had been given a pay rise.
“We’ve worked through [the pandemic] to keep people safe, we are all highly skilled and we need the pay rise to reflect that and its time to be thanked properly,” she said.
Rebecca Williams, an NHS nurse who was present at the protest with colleagues, said: “I’m just here to support everyone who stuck their neck out during the pandemic, cared for coronavirus patients and hasn’t received anything plus the fact that we have had a real time pay cut of 20pc under the Tory government.”
James Harvey, a staff nurse working in Norfolk, said: “We feel quite let down by the Tory party response, I think it’s about five years since they took away out final salary pension.”
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