NHS workers walk out on four-hour strike

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Staff from across the NHS have walked out on a four-hour strike in Sheffield this morning - with the threat of more to come as a row over wages continues.

Workers such as nurses and ambulance paramedics from 11 trade unions including Unison, the GMB, Unite and the Royal College of Midwives, as well as the Society of Radiographers, took strike action from 7am to 11am.

NHS workers who are fighting for fair pay are pictured at the entrance to the Northern General Hospital on Herries Road.

NHS workers who are fighting for fair pay are pictured at the entrance to the Northern General Hospital on Herries Road.

The strike was the second four-hour walkout to take place since the Government refused to allow a one per cent across-the-board pay rise for all staff, despite it being recommended by an independent pay review board.

Picketing workers gathered outside NHS sites including the Northern General and Royal Hallamshire Hospitals, where rallies were held.

Liz Elfleet, a Sheffield Teaching Hospitals radiographer and union representative, said she was ‘sorry’ to see a second strike take place, but added: “We’ve got staff who haven’t had a pay rise for five years, and the cost of living is going up.

“We’re just asking for a living wage. We don’t want to be here. I love my job and I love the NHS but we have to do something. If this is the only way of getting people to take notice we have to do it.”

Ms Elfleet said her colleagues had seen a high level of public support.

“Patients have been coming up to us and saying ‘good luck’,” she said.

Staff will observe a work-to-rule for the rest of the week.

Harry Harpham, Darnall councillor and Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, who attended the picket line at the Northern General, said: “The NHS is our country’s most valued and respected institution, it does not seem fair to me that hard working staff in the health service, many of whom I know from personal experience often go over and above their basic duty to patients, should be on wages so low that they are reliant on benefits to make ends meet.”