UNISON health worker forced to re-mortgage home and take on extra shifts as cost-of-living crisis deepens

A health worker in South Wales has been left with no choice other than to re-mortgage her home as the ever-deepening cost-of-living crisis tightens its grip on the country.

Medical secretary and UNISON Cymru/Wales member Beverly Griffiths’ story is sadly one familiar to millions of families across the UK struggling to make ends meet in the face of sky-high prices and low wages.

The mum-of-two from Pembrokeshire has worked for the NHS for 17 years and, although her starting salary was good, she says that over the years it has fallen behind massively.

The reality of this has meant she and her family have had to make tough choices such as re-mortgaging their home, putting off repairs including storm damaged garden fencing and taking on extra shifts to cover costs.

Beverly said: “Any tiny increases we have had do not come close to meeting the rising cost of living.”

Beverly said the cost of living has increased so much that she has recently taken on extra weekend work.

She added: “We have been left with no choice other than to re-mortgage our home to have money left over each month after paying our ever-increasing utility bills, childcare and to cover the rising cost of weekly food shopping, fuel and other essentials.

“We also lost a fence in a recent storm which we cannot afford to replace leaving our back garden less secure for the children and our dogs, but we simply do not have the money to get this fixed as the price of everything has increased significantly since the pandemic.

“Everybody’s struggle is unique to their own situation.

“The rising cost of living is affecting us greatly.

“I am not on the lowest pay band and I’m thankful we had options to ease pressures but we do worry what the future holds as the cost of living continues to rise and our salaries fail to keep up.”

UNISON Cymru/Wales is campaigning for an immediate above-inflation pay rise for health workers and action on pay banding and issues of unpaid overtime.

The union is also organising transport from Wales to a major march against the cost-of-living crisis being held in London on Saturday June 18.

Karen Loughlin, UNISON Cymru/Wales regional secretary, said: “The devastating impact of this crisis is being felt by families and households across Wales and throughout the UK.

“Immediate action must be taken to ease the pressures on the finances of all public sector workers who are, as we all know, the backbone of our economy.

“We speak for all those hard-working families, and we will continue to fight for their voices to be heard in what is the worst crisis of its kind for a generation.

“Events such as the march in London are an essential way to ensure this happens.”