Organiser of NHS pay protest fined £10,000

The organiser of a demonstration against proposals to give a one per cent pay rise to NHS workers has been fined £10,000.

Greater Manchester Police said around 40 people gathered in Manchester city centre on Sunday, in contravention of coronavirus lockdown rules, in particular legislation concerning protests.

A statement released by the force said officers "sought to engage early with the organisers and those gathering to highlight the unlawfulness of their activity" and "most people" left.

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A 65-year-old woman was arrested for failing to provide details, after refusing to leave when asked. She later provided details and was de-arrested and given a £200 fixed penalty notice.

Police said 40 people attended the demonstration

The organiser of the protest, a 61-year-old woman, was handed a £10,000 fixed penalty notice.

Supt Caroline Hemingway said: "With the positive step of schools reopening tomorrow, it is vital that people continue to follow Government legislation on social distancing and avoid gathering illegally in large numbers.

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"Regardless of one's sympathies for a protest's cause, we would ask the public to maintain social distancing and follow legislation to prevent a rise in infections and provide the best possible chance of a further easing of restrictions in the weeks to come.

"We sought to engage with and peaceably disperse those attending this afternoon's protest, explaining that the gathering was in contravention of Government lockdown rules.

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"Unfortunately officers were met with a degree of non-compliance and it was therefore necessary to enforce issue FPNs."

Nurses and NHS workers from the campaign group NHS Workers Say No, and Unite’s Guys and St Thomas Hospital Union branch, also held a protest outside Downing Street against the proposal.

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The Royal College of Nursing has condemned the award as simply “not good enough”, stating that nursing staff, many of whom would have been working on the frontline during the pandemic, are “skilled professionals deserving of fair pay”.

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