Slow-clap protest as nurses show 1% pay rise anger
Talks are ongoing about possible strike action in the summer
19 March, 2021 — By Tom Foot
Nurses outside University College Hospital protesting against the proposed 1 per cent pay rise
HOSPITAL workers slow-clapped prime minister Boris Johnson in protest at a proposed 1 per cent pay rise.
A socially distanced protest was held outside University College Hospital – where Mr Johnson’s son was born last year – on Thursday evening. Health worker unions had backed the demonstration with talks ongoing about a possible pay dispute strike in the summer.
Janet Maiden, a nurse and Unison rep at UCLH, said: “The 1 per cent pay rise is shockingly galling. For most it means £3.50 extra week. We’re still talking about a real-terms pay cut.”
Ms Maiden last week told the Tribune how hospital staff have been “off sick with genuine trauma” during the pandemic, adding: “To say they are exhausted, it’s not a soundbite. It’s really true. People shake when they talk about their experiences.”
Nationally, Unison is demanding a £2,000 pay rise for all health workers to “show they are valued and prevent them leaving the jobs we need them to do”.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union, which has set up a £35million strike fund ahead of potential industrial action, said it was backing a second slow-clap on April 1. It says the government is reneging on a promised pay rise of more than 2 per cent.
RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “The Prime Minister says he is hearing NHS staff but he clearly is not listening. He was more than happy to clap for hard-working NHS staff when the photographers were ready.”
Mr Johnson’s baby who was born in UCH was given a middle name Nicholas, after two NHS doctors who saved him while he was in intensive care with Covid.
Last week, he said the government was awaiting findings from a pay review but that currently a 1 per cent rise was all the country could afford.