NHS workers strike outside Bedford Hospital

Bedford Hospital

Bedford Hospital

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Health workers are picketing outside Bedford Hospital today (Monday, October 13) as part of the countryside protest over pay.

NHS workers from Unison, GMB, Unite, the Royal College of Midwives and the Society of Radiographers will take strike action from 7am until 11am.

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Mid Bedfordshire, Charlynne Pullen, joined NHS workers on the picket line at Bedford Hospital on Monday, as they took action against the Tory government’s refusal to award them a 1% pay rise.

Ms Pullen said: “They are taking action because the Tory-Lib Dem government have failed to follow the advice of the Independent Pay Review Body in implementing an across-the-board 1% pay increase. This means 60% of NHS staff, and 70% of nurses and midwives will receive no cost of living pay increase in April 2015.

“Some NHS staff have seen their pay fall by 15% in real terms, with most seeing falls of 8-12% since May 2010. More than a third of non-medical NHS staff are paid less than £21,000 a year, meaning many rely on in-work benefits to get by.

“It is clear that this Tory-led government believe it is more important to privatise NHS services, giving contracts to their friends in private healthcare companies, than to properly pay hard-working nurses, midwives, paramedics, and other NHS staff. “While the Tories cut taxes for those earning over £150,000 a year, they’ve refused to find the money to implement a 1% pay rise recommended by the independent pay review body.

“I urge the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt MP to follow the advice of the independent pay review body and reinstate the 1% pay rise.

“Labour would repeal the Health and Social Care Act, stop the privatisation of the NHS and ensure NHS workers have time to care.”