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NHS staff to protest for pay rise on Matt Hancock’s doorstep

PUBLISHED: 16:52 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:08 02 September 2020

Nurse Xylina helped organise the last protest at Ipswich Hospital in August. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Nurse Xylina helped organise the last protest at Ipswich Hospital in August. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

A group of NHS workers from Suffolk protesting for pay rises will be heading to Bury St Edmunds to campaign at the health secretary’s constituency office.

Final year nursing student Rebecca attended the protest at Ipswich Hospital in August.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDFinal year nursing student Rebecca attended the protest at Ipswich Hospital in August. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Suffolk NHS Workers Say No was formed as part of the national movement for a 15% pay increase for health care staff, after nurses and junior doctors were left out of a government pay deal following the Covid-19 crisis.

Sue, who wishes only to be known by her first name, is one of the key organisers for the Suffolk group – one of 36 across the country holding local protests – and works at Ipswich Hospital.

She and her friend Xylina started the Suffolk NHS Pay Justice Hub together five weeks ago and have gained hundreds of members since.

The last protest was held outside the Garrett Anderson Centre in Ipswich on Wednesday, August 26 and attracted more than 50 people.

The protesters will be visiting the office of Matt Hancock, Conservative MP for West Suffolk and Health Secretary, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONSThe protesters will be visiting the office of Matt Hancock, Conservative MP for West Suffolk and Health Secretary, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

MORE: NHS staff protest at Ipswich Hospital for national pay rise

“We’ve barely touched West Suffolk so far, as all of our efforts have been focused on Ipswich as we work here,” Sue said.

“If we can get into Bury, we can expand the group more – the word is getting out there.”

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Sue said the Thursday evening clap from the government was a “kick in the teeth” when health care staff saw they wouldn’t be rewarded financially for their work during the pandemic.

The movement is lobbying for fairer pay for all NHS staff, such as porters, admin and cleaners – not just frontline workers.

Sue added: “We realised this was a great opportunity we couldn’t miss as we are the ones who have Matt Hancock’s constituency on our doorstep.

“We see it as our duty to the rest of the country to go there and protest to see if we can get his attention.

“Him, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak – they are the ones who can do something about this.”

The group is meeting at 11am outside the Accident and Emergency department of West Suffolk Hospital, in Hardwick Lane, on Saturday, September 12.

From there, the main group will march through the town centre to Abbey Gardens, where there will be live speeches and music.

Another smaller group are separately going to the health secretary’s office just outside of Bury St Edmunds at the Park Farm Business Centre.

An additional group will also be heading to the regional office of the Royal College of Nursing union to protest.


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