Unite members working in the NHS stepped up their campaign for fair pay with a further four-hour strike on Monday 24 November. We managed a short video snapshot of a picket line at Guy’s hospital in London.
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Members of Britain’s largest union Unite working for the NHS were out in force today (Monday 24 November), joining tens of thousands of health workers who took part in a second four-hour strike over pay.Commenting Rachael Maskell, Unite head of health said: “Today’s second strike action for fair NHS pay has been strongly supported with Unite health members joined by colleagues from the country’s leading health unions at over 120 pickets across England and Northern Ireland, behind a swell of public support.”
Across picket lines protesters held up ‘fair pay now’ and ‘peanuts won’t pay the bills’ placard messages in the second four-hour strike over the government’s refusal to implement the Pay Review Body’s (PRB) recommended 1 per cent pay increase for all NHS staff.
Rachael Maskell added: “Our members have been especially grateful for all the messages of support they’ve received from the public. They see the unfairness of the government’s decision to deny NHS staff a decent cost of living pay increase after years of pay freezes.
“The nation’s 1.35 million strong NHS workforce has been forced, reluctantly to strike for a second time after suffering a 15 per cent cut in their wages since 2010. Today also heralds the start of eight weeks of working to rule by Unite members.
“Our members are working harder and getting poorer. It doesn’t have to be this way. We are urging the health secretary to value the vital work of NHS workers who would rather be caring for patients than fighting their own poverty.
“Health secretary Jeremy Hunt cannot keep turning his back on hardworking health workers. With the Welsh government reaching a pay settlement last week, there can now be no excuses for Hunt’s continued refusal to get around the negotiating table.”
Across England and Northern Ireland today, NHS workers took to the picket lines for the first time in 30 years to demand fair NHS pay
Unite Community members showing solidarity on the picket line at Kendray Hospital in Barnsley.
Given the feedback from our members, we are confident that this was a very well-supported action with over 100 picket line protests outside NHS hospitals up and down the country. NHS workers were especially thankful for all the messages of support they’ve been receiving from the public.
We urge Jeremy Hunt to heed his responsibility to the NHS workforce and patients and to start talking with the unions to discuss fair pay for this vital staff who would rather be caring for patients than having to fight their own poverty.
Health professionals are especially concerned that the health secretary implies that fair wages for them mean job losses, but he does nothing to curb pay excess by corporate chief executives or the horrific £3 billion cost of this government’s useless reorganisation of the NHS.
The health unions are calling for the government not to impose limits on what can be achieved for this essential workforce, but to come to the table prepared to negotiate in a meaningful way.
Today general secretary Len McCluskey visited Unite members on strike picket at St Thomas’ Hospital. He said that we should send a message to this government and the political elite that NHS workers should no longer be treated as second class citizens.
Here are a few photos from today’s action (below).