NHS workers in the South West have asked the chancellor to recognise the work they’ve done to protect lives and fund a decent pay rise in this week’s Budget, says UNISON today (Monday).
More than 60,000 health care assistants, porters, operating theatre staff, nurses, caterers, ambulance staff, cleaners and members of the public across the UK have signed a letter to Rishi Sunak asking him to properly reward NHS staff for their work before and during the pandemic.
Staff want the chancellor to back a pay rise of at least £2,000 for all NHS workers, many of whom have put their health, wellbeing and personal lives on the line since Covid-19 struck.
In the letter, workers challenge the chancellor to step up and do his bit, as they have. They argue a pay rise would show staff they’re valued, provide a much-needed morale boost for burnt-out workers and tip the balance for the thousands on the brink of leaving the NHS, the union adds.
A video accompanying the letter shows staff describing the intense pressure they’ve been under.
Naomi, a housekeeper, describes how difficult working throughout the pandemic has been: “I have been providing meals and refreshments to patients with Covid-19. It is difficult working in a kitchen environment with a mask and visor. It is hot and you get steamed up when you are using the oven and the dishwasher.
“With all the precautionary measures in place, the normal routine takes longer. There are also often staff shortages and so everyone is doing over and above their normal job to compensate.
“A pay rise would give me and my colleagues the recognition we deserve and would enable me to feel more financially secure.”
UNISON South West regional secretary Joanne Kaye said: “Health workers have been battling the pandemic for a year. That’s a year of incredibly long-hours, heightened anxiety around the safety of family and friends, and fears about catching the virus.
“All while carrying out demanding roles and dealing with the trauma of many thousands of deaths.
“They’re giving their all to keep us safe. On Wednesday the chancellor can and should give something back to them on behalf of the nation.
“Rishi Sunak must do the right thing and back up words of praise with concrete actions by funding a pay rise of at least £2,000 for all NHS staff.”