18 March 2014
Health workers and activists, organised by Unite, the country’s largest union, will be protesting outside the hospital in Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol BS2 8HW between 07.00-09.00.
The protesters will be asking members of the public to sign a petition saying that the actions of the health secretary Jeremy Hunt are not acceptable, and, more generally, highlighting the financial plight that the NHS finds itself in after four years of coalition government.
Last week’s announcement on pay means that only those at the top of their pay band would receive the one per cent increase – the remaining 55 per cent of the 1.3 million NHS workforce would have to rely on their annual incremental increase, which is not necessarily guaranteed.
Unite has stressed that the incremental increases were in recognition of increased knowledge and skills as staff progressed in their careers – and are not part of the annual pay rise process.
Unite regional officer for health in the Bristol area, Ken Fish, said: “It is an insult that Jeremy Hunt did not accept the recommendation of the independent Pay Review Body for a one per cent pay rise for all workers.
“This is another kick in the teeth for our NHS members who are already dealing with additional work pressures such as working unpaid longer hours, increased workloads, and local attacks on their terms and conditions.
“These attacks on the NHS, which we believe are part of the softening up process to privatise large swathes of the health service, will have a detrimental impact on long-term patient care.
“I hope that members of the public will show their appreciation and support for our health workers tomorrow by attending the rally and signing the petition.”
The union has branded Jeremy Hunt’s announcement as ‘divide and rule’ tactics – and called for ‘meaningful’ talks on pay with the health secretary.