“After depending on NHS workers to save lives through the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, & cynically clapping them each week, Johnson’s government are now refusing to give them the pay rise they need.”
By the Labour Assembly Against Austerity Team
Thousands of people turned out to join protests across the UK Saturday to demand better pay for NHS workers.
The protests organised by grassroots campaign organisation Nurses United and People’s Assembly Against Austerity saw thousands socially distancing and wearing masks march from St James’s Park to Parliament Square in London. Unions such as Unite the Union and the Royal College of Nursing backed the protests as well.
Around 30 protests were organised across the country including Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and in Glasgow.
Former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, kicked off the day with a video message of support that highlighted NHS workers years of pay freeze, under-funding and under-staffing.
Labour MPs were seen at a number of protests, with Ian Byrne, the new Liverpool West Derby MP, joining protesters at St George’s Hall in Liverpool, as did the new Birkenhead MP, Mick Whitley.
Zarah Sultana MP joined a protest in Coventry, whilst Beth Winter MP and Cynon Valley CLP joined a protest in Merthyr with Mick Antoniw AM, and Monica Lennon addressed the protest in Glasgow
Other Labour MPs including John McDonnell, Nadia Whittome, Claudia Webbe, Nav Mishra and Rachel Hopkins expressed support on social media.
This weekend’s mobilisations are the start of a necessary intensification of campaigning against the Conservative government.
After depending on NHS workers to save lives through the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, and cynically clapping them each week, Johnson’s government are now refusing to give them the pay rise they need. This is however entirely consistent with their approach to public sector pay since 2010.
The Conservatives want to make ordinary people pay for the cost of the coronavirus pandemic, just as they did with the financial crisis in 2009-10.