Organiser of protest against 1% pay rise for nurses is fined £10,000 for breaching Covid laws

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The organiser of a protest against the Government’s proposed one per cent pay rise for NHS workers has been fined £10,000.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the 61-year-old woman was issued with the fixed penalty notice for breaching Covid-19 rules on public gatherings.

A 65-year-old woman was also arrested at the protest in Manchester city centre at noon on Sunday after refusing to leave the scene and failing to provide details when asked.

She later gave officers her details and was de-arrested but given a £200 fixed penalty notice, GMP said.

Nurses and NHS workers from the campaign group NHS Workers Say No, and Unite’s Guys and St Thomas Hospital Union branch, also held a protest outside Downing Street today.

A 65-year-old woman (pictured) was also arrested at the protest in Manchester city centre at noon on Sunday after refusing to leave the scene and failing to provide details when asked

A 65-year-old woman (pictured) was also arrested at the protest in Manchester city centre at noon on Sunday after refusing to leave the scene and failing to provide details when asked

The Royal College of Nursing has condemned the award as simply ‘not good enough’, stating that nursing staff, many of whom would have been working on the frontline during the pandemic, are ‘skilled professionals deserving of fair pay’.

Superintendent Caroline Hemingway, of GMP, 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 issue fixed penalty notices.’

Police break up a protest in Manchester over the proposed one per cent pay rise for NHS workers from the Government

Police break up a protest in Manchester over the proposed one per cent pay rise for NHS workers from the Government

Earlier this week Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed the one per cent pay rise for staff was ‘fair’ – costing the government over £500million a year – and said that he cared about nurses. 

But furious health unions, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing and Unison, wrote an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak about their concerns.  

Mr Hancock – who promised last year he would ‘fight’ to ensure the NHS was given a ‘reward’ in the aftermath of the pandemic – claimed he ‘bowed to no-one in his admiration’ for nurses, adding: ‘I learnt that at the knee of my grandmother who was a nurse.’ 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said ‘difficult economic challenges’ were behind the Government’s decision to recommend a one per cent pay rise for NHS workers.

This woman, 65, later gave officers her details and was de-arrested but given a £200 fixed penalty notice, GMP said

This woman, 65, later gave officers her details and was de-arrested but given a £200 fixed penalty notice, GMP said

Mr Williamson told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: ‘The Government has at every stage been clear of our commitment to the NHS.

‘Over a million NHS staff are going to be receiving pay increases over and above that.

‘But, also, we are facing difficult economic challenges.

‘We’re facing almost three-quarters of a million people who are unemployed and we have in the context of that decided to exempt the NHS from the public sector pay freeze, which is the only part of the public sector that has been exempted from that.’

Asked whether a U-turn was likely on the NHS pay recommendation, Gavin Williamson said there had ‘quite rightly’ been ‘record increases’ going to doctors and nurses, but that the country faced ‘a much more difficult economic period’ after the economy had shrunk by 10 per cent during the pandemic.

Pressed on possible NHS strikes over the pay move, the Education Secretary told Sophy Ridge: ‘No-one wants to see industrial action and I’m certain the Royal College of Nursing wouldn’t want to see industrial action.’    

Protesters packed away as police broke up the demonstration in Manchester earlier today

Protesters packed away as police broke up the demonstration in Manchester earlier today

Furious health unions said NHS workers ‘have literally kept the country alive for the past year’ as coronavirus ripped across Britain. 

A letter to the chancellor, seen by the BBC, read: ‘The proposal of a 1 per cent pay offer, not announced from the despatch box but smuggled out quietly in the days afterwards, fails the test of both honesty and fails to provide staff who have been on the very frontline of the pandemic the fair pay deal they need.

‘Our members are the doctors, nurses, midwives, porters, healthcare assistants and more, already exhausted and distressed, who are also expected to go on caring for the millions of patients on waiting lists, coping with a huge backlog of treatment as well as caring for those with Covid-19.’

Police detain an NHS worker after breaking up a protest in Manchester earlier today

Police detain an NHS worker after breaking up a protest in Manchester earlier today

This woman, 65, refused to give police her details and was briefly arrested but released

This woman, 65, refused to give police her details and was briefly arrested but released

NHS workers planned protests around England at the Government’s decision to recommend the pay rise – a move Labour predicts could help make new nurses £300 worse off.

Demonstrators planned a socially-distanced protest outside Downing Street and in Manchester city centre over the pay offer.

The move has sparked talk of industrial action, and unions have warned it could see nurses leave the profession in their droves following the ‘slap in the face’ wage review from ministers after 12 months on the front line of the Covid pandemic.

Labour has argued that the Government’s recommendation for a one per cent pay rise for NHS workers in 2021-22 amounts to a ‘real terms cut’ to wages given that the UK’s fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, is predicting consumer price inflation (CPI) will rise to 1.7 per cent in the coming year.

Demonstrators planned a socially-distanced protest outside Downing Street and in Manchester city centre over the pay offer. Pictured, police in Manchester

Demonstrators planned a socially-distanced protest outside Downing Street and in Manchester city centre over the pay offer. Pictured, police in Manchester

A newly-qualified nurse earning a £24,907 salary would face a real terms cut to the tune of £174 if the rise goes ahead, according to Labour.

And with personal income tax allowance frozen at 2021-22 levels for five years by the Chancellor at the Budget and council tax likely to rise in a host of areas next month, the Opposition party said a new nurse could find themselves £307 worse off by 2023.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds accused her opposite number Mr Sunak of ‘turning his back on our NHS heroes before the crisis is even over, repeatedly hitting their pockets’.

The outcry over the proposal has not been restricted to the Opposition benches, with a former Tory health minister arguing it was the ‘wrong time’ to be restraining the pay of NHS staff who have gone ‘above and beyond’ during the coronavirus epidemic.

A newly-qualified nurse earning a £24,907 salary would face a real terms cut to the tune of £174 if the rise goes ahead, according to Labour. Pictured, a demonstration in Manchester

A newly-qualified nurse earning a £24,907 salary would face a real terms cut to the tune of £174 if the rise goes ahead, according to Labour. Pictured, a demonstration in Manchester

Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter, who has been assisting on the NHS front line, told the BBC: ‘For me, this is, from a moral perspective, the wrong time to be applying pay restraint.’

Senior Tory backbenchers Sir Roger Gale and Andrew Percy are among those to have broken ranks to criticise the one per cent decision in recent days.

The Observer reported that many Tory MPs now believe the one per cent offer will be revisited when the NHS pay review bodies recommend salary levels for health service staff in May.

The paper said a Government document shared with backbenchers stated ministers would ‘consider their recommendations carefully’ in the spring.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which has decided to set up a £35million industrial action fund to support members wanting to strike, has warned a large number of nurses could leave the profession following the suggested pay rise.

Patricia Marquis, the union’s South East regional director, told Times Radio: ‘We know there are significant numbers who are planning to leave and this slap in the face from the Government really has just reinforced their belief that they are not valued by either the Government or perhaps some of the public in the way they would want to be.’   

Son of nurse, 60, who died from coronavirus blasts one per cent pay rise for NHS staff as ‘an insult’ amid warnings experienced staff could quit 

The son of a 60-year-old nurse who died from coronavirus has blasted the one per cent pay rise for NHS staff as ‘an insult’ amid warnings experienced staff could quit.

Linda Obiageli Udeagbala, from Croydon, south London, died last month after contracting Covid-19 as she continued to work at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. 

The mother-of-five, who worked for the NHS for 17 years, had underlying health conditions but chose to return to the front line because she wanted to care for others, her family said.

Her son Colin, 33, has since slammed the government’s one per cent pay rise as ‘disrespectful’ and ‘an insult to a lot of nurses’. 

Linda Obiageli Udeagbala, from Croydon, south London, died last month after contracting Covid-19 as she continued to work at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust

Linda Obiageli Udeagbala, from Croydon, south London, died last month after contracting Covid-19 as she continued to work at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust 

Mrs Udeagbala had encouraged several members of her family to to pursue a carer in healthcare.    

Her husband, Francis, is a psychiatric nurse, daughter Cheyrinne is a midwife, Angelica is a paediatric nurse, and son Colin, along with Gerard, are mental health nurses.

Colin, speaking about the pay rise offer, told The Times: ‘The rise in pay has always been… below inflation so realistically, they’re not really getting a pay rise. 

‘It actually seems like a pay cut to most people. There’s so many nurses that… have to go to food banks and things just to make ends meet, and I think that especially for nurses who have been pretty much on the front line… of this coronavirus battle, a 1 per cent pay rise, it’s really small. 

‘You would have thought that the government would say: ‘OK, you know, nurses have sacrificed a lot, and this is our way of saying thanks’.’  

The mother-of-five, who worked for the NHS for 17 years, had underlying health conditions but chose to return to the front line because she wanted to care for others, her family said

The mother-of-five, who worked for the NHS for 17 years, had underlying health conditions but chose to return to the front line because she wanted to care for others, her family said 

Linda (right) had encouraged several members of her family to to pursue a carer in healthcare  including husband Francis (centre), who is a psychiatric nurse, and daughter Cheyrinne (left), who is a midwife

Linda (right) had encouraged several members of her family to to pursue a carer in healthcare  including husband Francis (centre), who is a psychiatric nurse, and daughter Cheyrinne (left), who is a midwife

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, 2021-03-07 20:59:46

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