NURSES held a silent protest on Crosby beach last week against the government’s recent decision to give them a 3% pay rise, which they say is actually a ‘pay cut in real terms’.
The event was attended by nurses across the region and similar protests took place at Blackpool Tower and Market Street in Manchester as part of the Royal College of Nursing’s ‘Summer of Action’ for its ongoing ‘Fair Pay for Nursing’ campaign.
The protesters had a lot of support from passers-by, and even local sandwich shop Spoilt for Choice, who provided lunch to the nurses free of charge.
Carmel O’Boyle, chair of the RCN’s North West regional board and chair of the Greater Liverpool and Knowsley branch said: “We chose this site in Crosby because it is one of the most iconic places in Liverpool and is a great meeting point for us members to get together and demonstrate how disappointed we are in the government.
“Covid has really highlighted the role of the nurses and the complex skills the modern nurse does, but to be clear, we are not asking for a Covid reward for doing our job, we are asking for what’s due to us.
“Ten years of being underpaid and over worked; we’re truly overworked, stressed about paying our bills and feeding our families – we are sinking in the sand just like these statues!”
The campaign aims to secure a fully funded 12.5% pay increase for all nursing staff covered by Agenda for Change terms, as part of a one-year deal that applies equally to all bands.
In July, the government announced a 3% pay award for members in England and the Welsh Government has followed suit, but nurses say this is a pay cut in real terms.
Organiser Mike Travis, the RCN’s Trade Union Committee representative said: “The government is failing to give the NHS the money it needs
“This game of smoke and mirrors is dangerous for patients and the nursing staff who care for them. After years of pay cuts, nursing staff are worse off now than in 2010.
“This should have been a year to finally recognise the skill, expertise, and immense contribution of all nursing staff with a pay lift which started to bridge the gap.
“I urge all nurses in the NHS to respond to their Union’s ballot, it’s really important and take minutes to complete a vote.
“We really need to make a stand for the good of the profession.
“We won’t stand still on this pay award, we are fighting for a fair pay offer.”