NHS staff on second strike

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WIGAN borough health workers joined colleagues around the country in staging a four-hour walkout as part of an ongoing dispute over pay.

The strike by NHS staff is the second in as many months after ministers have not agreed a recommended one per cent pay rise.

Staff taking part in a fancy dress NHS strike at Golborne Health Centre

Staff taking part in a fancy dress NHS strike at Golborne Health Centre

Ambulance crews, nurses, midwives and radiographers represented by seven unions are among those taking part in the action.

Staff at Golborne Health Centre took to the picket line dressed up in Scrooge costumes to highlight the dispute.

And a picket line was formed outside the entrance to Wigan Infirmary.

Last month’s strike was the first by NHS workers over pay for 30 years.

Amy Barringer, UNISON North West’s Head of Health said: “The public support has been wonderful. Lots of drivers have been beeping their horns to show support and patients have been saying how they support the staff.

“People know that NHS workers don’t take strike action lightly and that they have been driven to this by the Government treating them unfairly over a number of years.

“It is not right that NHS staff have been singled out for such harsh treatment by the Government. Many of our members are struggling on low pay and they are determined that they should be paid fairly.”

The one per cent rise for all staff had been recommended earlier this year by an independent review body.

A Department of Health spokesman said the across the board rise would not be affordable without putting frontline jobs at risk.

Ambulance crews taking part in the strike would still attending life-threatening incidents, the North West Ambulance Service said.

Paramedics will be maintaining action short of strike action for the remainder of the week.

Cathy Warwick, Royal College of Midwives chief executive, said: “This is not about demanding huge banker-sized bonuses or asking for the similarly large bonuses and pay increases given to many senior managers in the NHS.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “NHS staff are our greatest asset, we want to make the current pay system fairer which is why we have put forward proposals that would guarantee all staff would get at least a one per cent pay rise this year and next, but these have been rejected by the unions. We have taken tough decisions to increase the budget, but we can’t afford a consolidated pay rise and increments without risking 10,000 frontline jobs.”