the former radio station for Dorset County Hospital

Health workers stage a protest in Dorchester town centre

Protesters rallied and marched through Dorchester on Saturday (17 Oct) demanding higher pay for NHS staff.

The protest which was covered by BBC reporter Edward Sault and a film crew and saw them urging the Government to reconsider the current pay offer in light of the rising pay for MPs.

Prior to the demonstration NHS dietitian and Dorset campaigner Lynne Hubbard said:

“Health staff are shocked and angry to hear that while we get nothing, MPs are to be awarded a pay rise of £3,360 a year – that’s on top of a basic salary of £81,932 and before their expenses for travel and the £10,000 they can claim for working from home during the pandemic.

“In the last 10 years the pay gap between MPs and health workers has really grown. MPs have had an increase of over £15,000, even before the latest increase. A nurse at the top of the middle grade, Band 5, has seen less than a fifth of that. The figures speak for themselves.

“As we approach a second wave, health workers don’t feel valued by the government and many fear going to the front line again.”

Amnesty International has reported that more than 640 health workers have died during the pandemic in the UK – the highest total in Europe. A poll in July of this year found that one in three nurses are considering leaving the profession and that a third of newly qualified nurses leave the profession within two years.

Chris Woodnutt took to social media after the event and said: “I’m just out of hospital. The nurses work 12 hour shifts hard work. They have to pay £20/£30 a week just to park their cars in the hospital car park. I think they should have a substantial pay rise and Hospitals should stop the parking fees, it’s disgusting.”

The Low Pay – No Way! Campaign group have stated on their website. Within the government’s Index of National Deprivation, 12 local areas in Dorset are within the top 20 per cent most deprived in the UK.

Low Pay – No Way! is a joint initiative by Weymouth and Portland Action on Wages (WeyPAW) and Dorset Trades Union Council (DTUC), with local union branches supporting workplace and community action.

Pictures: Twitter Edward Sault (BBC)

Image relevant to this news item
Image relevant to this news item