Healthcare workers to demand fair pay at Glasgow protest

Campaigners say UK Government pay rise announcement excludes 'a massive number of healthcare workers'.

Healthcare workers to demand fair pay at Glasgow protest Getty Images
Pay: Healthcare workers to protest in Glasgow.

Medical and social care workers plan to stage a protest in Glasgow today, calling on health secretary Jeane Freeman to open pay talks with NHS Scotland.

The Glasgow Green demonstration is one of many such protests scheduled to take place in London and other towns and cities across the UK.

The demos are planned in response to a UK Government pay rise announcement, which campaigners say excludes “a massive number of healthcare workers”.

With health devolved to the Scottish Government, Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon has called for pay talks to begin for Scottish workers.

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Responding to a written question from Lennon in July, Freeman said she had asked NHS Scotland and unions “to work in partnership to examine options for arriving at pay settlements for both the immediate and longer-term”, although a timetable has yet to be agreed.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s demonstration, Lennon repeated her plea for pay negotiations to begin.

She said: “From consultant to cleaner, our NHS staff have served selflessly on the front line against Covid-19.

“For every life tragically lost, many more have been saved by the actions of our healthcare staff.

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“They have been undervalued for too long and the Health Secretary should commit to pay talks for NHS workers.

Demonstrators attending the “NHS Workers say No!” protest have been asked to meet at the McLennan Arch at 11am and bring two-metre lengths of blue ribbon to demonstrate social distancing.

The description on the Facebook event’s page, which by Friday afternoon had almost 3,000 people expressing an interest in attending, said: “The recent government announcement of a pay rise for teachers, doctors, armed forces personnel and public sectors workers to ‘recognise their efforts on the front line’ excludes a massive number of healthcare workers.

“This announcement is a massive slap in the face, slapped by the hand that once clapped for us. The Government have taken advantage of us for far too long.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was “hugely grateful for the extraordinary hard work, dedication, skill and commitment of all those working in NHS Scotland” during the coronavirus pandemic.

The spokesman said: “This year nurses in Scotland received a 2.95% pay rise as part of our three-year NHS Agenda for Change pay deal. This has meant a minimum 9% pay increase for most staff, and with some of those still moving up their pay scale seeing increases of up to 27%.

“This is in excess of the 2.8% uplift announced for NHS dentists and doctors in England and Scotland.