Video: Health workers in Brent take part in national strike
- Credit: Archant
Health workers from Northwick Park, Central Middlesex and St Mark’s hospitals took part in a four-hour national strike over pay this morning.
They joined fellow midwives, nurses, paramedics, ambulance staff, and hospital porters and cleaners by mounting picket lines across England from 7am.
Many workers, including midwives, went on strike for the first time in their lives, saying they never expected to have to take industrial action.
The workers who say they have had enough of being treated as “second class citizens” will take other forms of industrial action for the rest of the week.
The strike was in protest at the Government’s decision not to accept a recommended 1 per cent pay rise for all NHS staff.
Christina McAnea, national officer of Unison, said: “This is the first time in 32 years that NHS workers take industrial action over pay, and for many, it will be the first time. Up and down the country, hundreds of thousands of workers are out fighting for fair pay and for the NHS.”
Contingency plans were put into place to deal with the strike, with union members responding to emergencies.
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But a row broke out after it emerged that military personnel and the police were being deployed by the London Ambulance Service.
Unions said they had been kept in the dark about the move, which they described as “provocative”.
Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary said: “I recognise frontline staff do a magnificent job in the NHS. We have had more than 650 NHS volunteers who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to help tackle the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
“We’re offering them all a one per cent rise. The majority of NHS staff get an automatic 3 per cent increment but we can’t afford to give a one per cent rise to people already getting that.”
He added that hospitals would be forced to lay off staff if the recommended pay award was met in full.
Martin Francis from the Brent Green Party said he fully supported the workers.
He said: “It’s regrettable that they had to take strike action and it was only for a short period and was justified.”