London Protesting as a Nurse in the NHS
On the 8th August myself and hundreds of other health care workers engaged in an NHS London Nursing Protest. the March took place from St James’s Park and walked to Number 10 Downing Street. The purpose of the march was mainly securing a 15% pay rise for Nurses within the NHS.
A pay rise been an issue in the front of Nurses and healthcare workers mind’s since it was announced that hundreds of pubic sector workers were getting a payrise. However, nurses were left out of this post Covid ‘Thank you’, leaving many nurses feeling like we had been ‘stabbed in the back’.
In the spirit of protesting, many issues affecting the NHS were addressed. This included many recent tragedies such as the death of NHS workers and PPE shortages. Other things mentioned were NHS cuts, staff shortages and difficult working conditions. I myself was carrying a banner with my friend and colleague saying “Overworked Underpaid”. Half of the banner appears in headline news stories.
“Torys Lied, Nurses Died”A chant heard on the day
One of the popular chants heard in the march included “Torys Lied, Nurses Died, Now its Time to Turn the Tide”.
The protest was very powerful, many nurses and healthcare professionals turned up in scrubs. I unfortuately did not plan ahead enough to collect scrubs for the occasion. Thankfully, many of the nurses there today had clearly been planning ahead for the day. When I arrived at my hospital to join the other nurses, the lead gave everyone a sheet with the words to the chants to learn and use
My favourite to chant was “1,2,3,4,5 Keep our NHS alive”. The main chant of the day was “What do we want? 15%! When do we want it? Now!”. Chanting was an important factor in the NHS London Nursing Protest.
A not so surprising factor of the day was the mention of nursing strikes in the future. Strikes were mentioned in some of the chants. In Particular, “What do we want? Pay rise. How do we get it? Strike!”. As I don’t hold any further information on this I can’t comment on any further plans of action and I don’t wish to perpetrate rumours.
If Nurses were to strike?
It wouldn’t be the first time members of the NHS have gone on strike. In 2016 Junior Doctors held a strike to oppose the imposition of new contracts, which reclassified the ‘working week’ to include weekend and late evening working. This was preceded by a protest 3 months prior.
There was strong representation present from Unite and from Unison. However I did not see or feel as though there was much RCN representation present. This could have been from where I was standing though as I was near the front.
Im ironically having to rush writing this as I have a 12 hour shift tomorrow (third in 4 days). It really drives home how important it is to fight for these issues facing our workforce.
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