Illustrators to get creative to back NHS pay poster campaign

Posters designed by children’s illustrators and writers are part of a growing collection of artwork that households across the UK are being urged to display this week to show support for a proper pay rise for NHS staff, says UNISON Cymru Wales today (Wednesday).

The drawings from Nick Butterworth – who is behind the Percy the Park Keeper books – and Emer Stamp, author and illustrator of the Diaries of Pig, are part of a national effort to encourage the public to put colourful posters in their windows in support of health service staff.

UNISON is urging families and individuals to show their appreciation for NHS workers with bright, hand-crafted displays tomorrow (Thursday 1 April).

The union says this will show the public strength of feeling on the day NHS staff should have received a wage increase and be a welcome ‘thank you’ for all their tireless efforts over the past year to keep everyone safe.

Delays mean health workers – including cleaners, porters, physiotherapists, 999 call handlers, nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants – must now wait until later in the year for the wage rise they’re due. To make matters worse, says UNISON, the UK government has proposed a rise of just 1%.

NHS pay in Wales is a devolved issue, but Welsh Government could only afford to provide a decent wage rise if it receives additional funding from Westminster. A substantial NHS England pay rise would provide that equivalent money in the devolved budget to Wales.

Nick Butterworth’s poster features a fox giving medicine to Percy in bed with the message ‘We have to look after those who look after us!’ Nick said:

“The people of the NHS have been going like the clappers to keep ‘the clappers’ going. It’s only fair that we should recognise the immense debt we owe them as individuals and a country.”

UNISON Cymru Wales lead officer for health, Paul Summers, said:

“Wales Conservative politicians like to say NHS pay is the concern of Welsh government but there is no way Wales could afford a big boost to healthcare workers’ wages without Westminster providing substantial additional funding.

“Let’s show the Prime Minister just how much the public values health staff. By getting creative for the NHS with our crayons, felt tips and pencils, we can all get colouring to send a powerful message to Westminster.

“Bright, colourful displays in the windows of houses, flats, apartments and bungalows across the land should help the government to see just how out of step it is with the public mood.

“Calling for a decent pay rise for NHS staff, who have given so much this past year, must surely persuade UK ministers to think again. An offer of 1% is far short of what health workers deserve.”

Notes to editors:
– The event in support of the NHS takes place on Thursday 1 April. The public are encouraged to make their posters as colourful as possible and display them where they can be clearly seen by passers-by. The posters from the children’s illustrators and authors will be available here. Alternatively, people can create their own posters.
– Health workers are currently in the final year of a three-year deal. They’re due a pay rise on Thursday (1 April). The UK government’s evidence to the NHS pay review body has proposed a 1% pay increase. The pay review body is due to make its recommendation later in the year. The Prime Minister has told MPs to wait for the pay review body report and that the government won’t make a decision on pay until then.

Alastair Gittins, UNISON Cymru Wales press officer on 07816 53 83 97