Organiser of Manchester NHS pay protest handed £10,000 fine

7 March 2021, 15:07 | Updated: 8 March 2021, 07:29

By Megan White

Police have handed a £10,000 fine to the organiser of a protest over the NHS 1% pay rise in Manchester.

Around 40 people attended the demonstration in St Peter's Square on Sunday afternoon.

The demonstration was in opposition to the Government's 1% pay rise for NHS staff, which has been branded "unacceptable."

On Saturday, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham urged the Government to U-turn and give staff more money.

Greater Manchester Police said they "sought to engage early with the organisers and those gathering to highlight the unlawfulness of their activity, using the first of the four Es approach - engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance with legislation."

Most people then left the area.

One woman aged 65 was arrested for failing to provide details having refused the opportunity to leave when asked.

She later provided details and was de-arrested and given a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice.

The organiser of the protest, a woman aged 61, has been issued a £10,000 Fixed Penalty Notice.

Superintendent Caroline Hemingway said: "With the positive step of schools reopening tomorrow, it is vital that people continue to follow Government legislation on social distancing and avoid gathering illegally in large numbers.

"Regardless of one's sympathies for a protest's cause, we would ask the public to maintain social distancing and follow legislation to prevent a rise in infections and provide the best possible chance of a further easing of restrictions in the weeks to come.

"We sought to engage with and peaceably disperse those attending this afternoon's protest, explaining that the gathering was in contravention of Government lockdown rules.

"Unfortunately officers were met with a degree of non-compliance and it was therefore necessary to enforce issue FPNs."