Andrew Pierce 6pm - 9pm
Hundreds of NHS workers march in UK cities calling for pay rise
8 August 2020, 12:30
Hundreds of NHS workers have gathered in central London to march for fair pay for health service staff.
Crowds gathered on Horse Guards Parade ahead of the protest as a samba band led people in chants of “one two three four five, keep our NHS alive”.
Another 30 demonstrations have been organised on Saturday in towns and cities across the country – including, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield.
In Glasgow and London, the protesters held a two-minute silence for NHS colleagues who have died after contracting Covid-19.
Grassroot NHS workers are angry after they were left out of plans to give almost a million public sector workers an above-inflation increase.
Almost 900,000 public sector workers have been given an above-inflation pay rise, including doctors, dentists and police.
However nurses and junior doctors have been told to wait until next April because they agreed a separate three-year deal in 2018.
The marchers held placards including "heroes shouldn't have to use food banks" and "NHS hero but my purse still says zero".
Unite national officer for health, Jackie Williams, said: “In a decade of Tory austerity, NHS staff has seen their pay cut by 20% in real terms - and no amount of Thursday evening clapping and warm ministerial words can compensate for this dramatic loss in income.”
A recent survey by Unison suggested more than two-thirds (69%) of people think all NHS employees should be awarded a rise this year.
More than 500 health workers have died during the pandemic following exposure to Covid-19.