The national protests by NHS workers showed the breadth and depth of anger within healthcare at the refusal to bring forward pay negotiations. Here’s my closing speech from the Birmingham demonstration:
“Today we, the frontline workers in the NHS, have spoken in unity to say that our pay and our conditions are not good enough.
“This pandemic has shown that we have far greater worth than the so-called “leaders” in government; when the trouble hit we stepped up and they fell apart.
“The essential NHS workers of this country have shown their worth, and now we are demanding our wage.
“For all the talk of heroes, of bravery, dedication and commitment, their actions have left us exhausted, demoralised and worse off that we were ten years ago.
“Empty words from politicians and commentators don’t pay bills. Platitudes don’t keep the lights on. We’ve known from the start that their handclaps were just photo-ops, and we’re not fooled by their shameless pandering. If they valued us, they’d do the right thing and provide all health and social care workers an immediate and restorative pay rise. Instead, they wring their hands and plead poverty.
“The Conservatives have shown willingness to spend money in some areas of course – £11million on a failed track and trace, £50million on a ferry company without ferries, £250million on masks that can’t be used, £53million on a Garden Bridge that can’t be built, £400million on a bankrupt satellite company; the magic money tree is groaning with generous handouts for their friends – but piecemeal scraps for you.
“They don’t believe we deserve any more.
“We say they are wrong.
“We will prove them wrong.
“We are united.
“And as long as we are united, we will not fail.”