Striking NHS workers say:

‘Give us pay we can live on’

At the St Leonard's hospital picket line in Hackney, north London, November 2014, photo by Paul Mattsson

At the St Leonard’s hospital picket line in Hackney, north London, November 2014, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

A London mental health worker

Angry NHS workers are due to take a further 12 hours strike action on 29 January and go out again for a full 24 hours in February. Over the past five years we have seen the pay of NHS bosses soar while the real value of our pay has fallen.

Between 2013 and 2014 nurses have lost an average of £422 off our annual pay and we have seen 10,000 NHS jobs lost. Outside of the NHS we see judges getting an 18% pay rise, senior civil servants get 14% and MPs award themselves a 9% rise.

The unfairness of this really hits home when the Unison union say one third of NHS staff cannot afford to live on their take home pay.

The 1% pay rise is only being offered to a minority of NHS staff. This is in spite of the independent pay review body recommending NHS workers get a 1% pay rise across the board!

Health unions have already given up benefits for health workers including car allowances. We are now hearing that unsociable hours pay is ending in the NHS too!

But the two previous four hour strikes and work-to-rule days were overwhelmingly supported by health workers. Tory leader David Cameron and his cronies are doing a wonderful job of turning us into a militant workforce!

If you are a health worker and are not in a union yet join one now and get active!

The fightback on NHS pay is escalating and we need all health workers to show this greedy, uncaring government that we have had enough!

Save our health service

Leeds radiographers on strike, photo Leeds SP

Leeds radiographers on strike, photo Leeds SP   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

We have seen over the recent weeks increasing media coverage on the NHS as the Westminster parties start gearing up for the general election in May.

But has this NHS crisis just suddenly happened? If you ask NHS staff and unions the answer is no!

For years we have pointed out that cuts in A&E departments won’t reduce demand, but mean more work for remaining staff. We have argued against cuts in university training budgets. We have argued against privatisation. Treating the NHS like a business doesn’t work.

Yet the NHS still has to find the ‘efficiency savings’ – ie further cuts – demanded by all establishment political parties.

How can the NHS be more efficient when other areas such as social services are also being cut, delaying patients’ return into the community?

And now Cameron has the cheek to tell private employers they should increase pay whilst his government won’t even speak to NHS staff unions over pay.

We want a pay rise yes, but we also want an end to the cuts, top-down reorganisations and privatisation. That’s why we are striking.

A Buckinghamshire NHS worker