Sheffield Trade Union Council organised the event at Barkers Pool which saw speeches on the steps of City Hall in support of calls for health workers to receive more than the one per cent pay rise they have been offered after their work during the coronavirus pandemic.
The rally came on the 73rd anniversary of the birth of the National Health Service in 1948.
Martin Mayer, Secretary of Sheffield TUC, said: “The NHS was already under huge strain from underfunding and austerity spending cuts before the COVID pandemic, and was stretched to its limits coping with the unbelievable strain of looking after Covid patients this last year and more” he said.
“We salute the 10s of thousands of health care professionals who gave their utmost to keep us safe during the crisis, often at great cost to themselves personally
"Hundreds died themselves from Covid, often because they did not receive the PPE they needed, and all were affected mentally and emotionally by the unprecedented number of seriously ill patients needing intensive care and the huge numbers who died. They deserve more than just a clap – they deserve proper recognition and thanks with a ground-breaking pay rise.”
He added he felt workers in care homes and the wider care service should not be forgotten, and that many of them were on little more than the minimum wage, yet had to bear the brunt of the first wave of the pandemic with next to no PPE, with many were forced to “live in” at the care homes where they worked for weeks and months on end in order to protect the residents from further risk of infection.
He said health workers had been subjected to over 10 years of pay freezes and below inflation pay rises due to austerity.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “This year, the government has committed to providing NHS staff with a pay uplift at a time when uplifts in the wider public sector have been paused. In doing so, the government is acknowledging the extraordinary work of NHS staff through the pandemic.”