NHS pay row: Furious staff to protest against 'insulting pay cut' outside Sheffield hospital

Sheffield NHS staff will be taking part in a protest outside the Royal Hallamshire Hospital this afternoon in protest against the real terms pay cut they will receive is the Government’s budget plans go ahead.

Last week Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his budget and revealed that NHS staff would receive a one per cent pay rise.

With inflation expected to be 1.9 per cent, this equates to a real terms pay cut for staff who have been on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic response for a year.

Sheffield union rep and nurse Joan Pons Laplana last week explained that the proposed pay rise equates to around £3.50 extra per week for nurses (less than £200 annual increase), and said that the industrial action would take place if the Government did not change their plans.

The Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

Now a protest will go ahead at 4.30pm today.

Mr Laplana said: “At Unison we accept there is a financial crisis at the moment but we are asking for a £2000 bonus for everybody.

"The Government has spent more than £15 billion on Test and Trace which is not fit for purpose. Why can it not give money to the frontline staff who have saved what was the Prime Minister’s catastrophic management of the pandemic?

"This pay cut is an insult to the hard work we have done.”

The Royal College of Nursing has made greater demands of the Government than Unison, calling for a 12 per cent pay increase for nurses’ wages.

Mr Laplana added: "So many nurses rely on benevolent funds like food banks. So many have had enough.

“Countries all over the world – including Scotland – have thanked their frontline staff by giving them a bonus. In England our Government thinks it can pay us by clapping.”

The Department of Health and Social Care has been under pressure to reconsider the one per cent pay rise since last week, when it was officially recommended to the independent panel that advises the government on NHS salaries.

Unions have said that strikes may take place if the Government does ‘make a U-turn’ its decision before it is made final in May.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the one per cent pay rise, saying it is 'as much as we can give'.