Let’s call the UK government out on pay with handclap protest, says UNISON

People are being asked to stand on their doorsteps and balconies tonight (Thursday) to slow handclap the government over its proposal for a 1% pay rise for NHS staff.

The public action – backed by UNISON, health unions and the TUC – is the latest step in the campaign to achieve fair pay for health workers who have worked tirelessly to keep the country safe, says UNISON.

The mass event takes place at 8pm on the first anniversary of the World Health Organisation declaring Covid-19 a global pandemic.

The slow handclap will be repeated three weeks later on 1 April, the day staff were due to have their next wage increase.

NHS pay in Wales is a devolved issue but UNISON says 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.

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

The chancellor and the prime minister should be ashamed of treating health staff so shabbily. This is the chance for the public to call them out on pay.

“Everyone in the NHS has coped in the toughest conditions this past year. Many have faced the trauma of patients dying, the exhaustion from endless shifts and the strain of chronic understaffing.

“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. The chancellor should have given something back to NHS workers on behalf of the nation in the Budget.

“Let’s give health staff our support this evening by showing the UK government exactly what we all think of its 1% pay proposal.”

Notes to editors:

  • On Thursday evening at 8pm, health unions are urging the public to show support for NHS staff with a slow hand clapdemonstrating their displeasure at government proposals for a 1% pay rise. UNISON is calling on the UK government to give all NHS workers a pay rise of at least £2,000. Health workers are currently in the final year of a three-year deal. They’re due a pay rise in April.
  • UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

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