There has not been a national strike over pay in the NHS for 32 years, but for four hours from 7am today (Monday), up to 400,000 NHS workers in England are to strike in protest at the government’s refusal to grant them a pay rise.
Nurses, midwives, paramedics, radiographers, consultants, managers, hospital porters and cleaners, administrative, catering and maintenance staff, and other health service workers are angry that the government chose to ignore the advice of the independent pay review body, and as a result have been denied a pay rise.
By the end of the next financial year, health workers will have had their pay capped for six long years, says the TUC.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady will be heading to a picket line near Euston at 8am on Monday morning to show her support for health workers taking part in the pay protest.
Commenting on the action, Frances said: “NHS staff are always reluctant strikers – there hasn’t been a national strike over pay in the health service since 1982 – and they will do everything they can to protect patients in their care. But morale has hit rock-bottom. Even the Royal College of Midwives, which has have never been on strike, is taking action today.
“Not only have NHS staff faced year-on-year cuts in the relative value of their pay, ministers have turned down the recommendations of the independent pay review body, even though it called for an affordable, below-inflation pay rise.
“It is no surprise that the NHS is finding it hard to recruit and retain staff as they find themselves squeezed between falling living standards and covering up for NHS cuts.
“But NHS workers are not the only employees who do not understand why ministers are using the fruits of recovery to fund tax cuts for their rich supporters, while everyone else faces a continuing squeeze in their standard of living.
“This is why tens of thousands of workers will be joining the TUC’s Britain Needs a Pay Rise demonstration this Saturday.”
St Pancras Hospital is part of Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. Staff employed there include nurses, support workers, healthcare assistants, as well as catering and administrative staff.
The unit provides community and in-patient support to residents with mental health issues living across the two London boroughs.
Frances will be met on the picket line on Monday morning by UNISON branch secretary and staff side chair Lucy McLean and her colleagues. Frances will be outside the main gates on the picket for approximately half an hour from 8am.