Hundreds of nurses protest against low pay in NHS at Sheffield city centre rally

Hundreds of health service staff and their supporters joined a socially-distanced protest calling for increased pay in the NHS.

Nurses from all over the city gathered in Barker’s Pool on Saturday morning to demand the Government live up to the ‘Clap for Our Carers’ movement and give them a 15 per cent wage increase.

Organisers said this is the only way to make up for the real-term reduction in pay that the profession has seen over the last 10 years and adequately reward them for bravely fighting coronavirus earlier this year.

And they claimed the country was behind them, with one recent poll suggesting that 77 per cent of the public support a substantial pay rise for nurses.

Sheffield NHS pay protest: Hundreds turn up for the rally at Barker's Pool.

Organiser, Holly Johnston, who is a sister at Weston Park Hospital, said nursing had been disregarded as a profession by the Government and they had ‘had enough'.

She said: “Nurses and healthcare workers have been undervalued, underpaid, understaffed and overworked for years. We are demoralised.

"The public support, the ‘thank yous’ and the clapping was all well received and certainly boosted moral especially in the first few weeks.

“However, it should not be in place of a well-earned pay rise from the Government, not only for recognition of our roles during Covid-19 but to make up for the pay freeze since 2010 and years of austerity in between."

Sheffield NHS pay protest: Many brought placards and banners to display.

The event – which was one of at least 33 events taking place all over the UK during a national day of action – was jointly organised by health service campaigners Sheffield Save Our NHS and the Sheffield Trades Union Council and was followed by a march through the city centre.

The country-wide protests are calling for a pay increase for nurses of 15 per cent, saying figures show that an average staff nurse is an amazing £5,000 worse of in 2020 than they were in 2010.

“The pay deal from 2018 for nurses was up for negotiation if circumstances changed – I think a pandemic covers that,” added Holly.

“We are people that care, it is now time the Government cares for us.”

Sheffield NHS pay protest: A nurse making her feelings known.
Sheffield NHS pay protest: The 'Clap for Our Carers' took place weekly during the coronavirus lockdown.