NHS staff to march from Wigan Infirmary to town centre as they call for a pay rise

Hospital workers are taking to the streets of Wigan again to demand they are included in a pay rise awarded to other public sector workers.
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NHS staff will march from Wigan Infirmary to the town centre on Saturday as they bid to make their voices heard.

They will gather at the Plantation Gates, opposite the hospital on Wigan Lane, Swinley, at 11am and are asked to wear blue ribbons in memory of colleagues who have died.

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The healthcare workers will be supported by Wigan Trades Council, as well as trade unionists and other supporters from across the borough.

Campaigners at last month's demonstrationCampaigners at last month's demonstration
Campaigners at last month's demonstration

It is the second time recently that they have protested in Wigan about being missed out of a pay increase given to public sector workers.

Around 70 people, carrying placards and banners, gathered outside the Plantation Gates last month to demonstrate at a social distance.

The Government did not include the NHS workers in the pay rise as they agreed a three-year deal in 2018, but campaigners feel they should be given an increase in their salary now following months of hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.

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This weekend’s protest comes as railway guards in the Wigan branch of the RMT voted to pressure union leaders to demand railway companies offer concessionary fares to NHS staff for their work in the Covid-19 crisis.

Wigan RMT regional council secretary Steve Shaw said: “It’s now time that our Government and the wider business community properly recognise the superb efforts that our NHS workers put in to keep this country and its population safe and healthy.

“The current coronavirus crisis has highlighted what most honest and decent working people have always known - that is the fact that our NHS workers are not only dedicated and highly skilled, but also brave and committed to all the people who use their services.

“There is no reason why they should not be treated in the same way as those in the armed services and receive a third off all rail fares.”

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A spokesman for Wigan Trades Union Council added: “What the RMT initiative is addressing is part and parcel of the wider issues facing the NHS. Long hours, low pay, stressful conditions, the constant threat of re-organisation and privatisation, all conspiring to create an unnecessary crisis that no amount of clapping and cheering can hide.

“If the politicians won’t step up to the mark then we have to.”