An NHS Nurse Faces A £10,000 Fine After Protesting The Government’s 1% Pay Rise For NHS Staff

It comes after Boris Johnson said 1% is all the government can give while spending millions on a new Downing Street media room.

NHS Staff

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

An NHS nurse is facing a £10,000 fine after organising a protest of the government's 1% pay rise for NHS staff in Manchester last weekend. Karen Reissmann, 61, told the Mirror that the protest was 'safe', with people socially distanced and wearing masks during it.

It comes after Boris Johnson responded to backlash about the pay rise, saying it's 'as much as we can give'. And yet, the government are currently spending £2.6million renovating Downing Street's media room.

'It would take around 100 years for a newly qualified nurse to get paid this kind of money.' Labour's Angela Rayner said in response. 'It sums up Boris Johnson's warped priorities that he can find millions for vanity projects, while picking the pockets of NHS workers. Our NHS heroes deserve a fair pay rise after all they have done for us.'

Meanwhile, one NHS nurse faces losing £10,000 with Reissmann saying she was told by Greater Manchester Police that her fine would come in the post - although she hasn't heard from them since.

A nurses union responded to the government’s ‘pitiful’ proposal for a 1% pay rise last week, threatening strike action. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) set up a £35million fund in preparation for the strike, arguing members should get 12.5% instead.

The NHS pay rise, put forward by the Tory government, would cover nearly all hospital staff – excluding GPs and dentists – and is supported by the independent panel of salaries. A spokesperson for the Department of Health said it was a ‘real-terms increase’ as inflation figures currently sit at 0.9%

However, the RCN says the 1% pay rise is equivalent to £3.50 extra per week in take-home pay for an experienced nurse – where starting salaries begin at £24,907. The lowest minimum full-time salary for NHS workers – including drivers, nursery assistants and domestic support workers – is £18,005 per year with the highest – usually for consultants with five years’ experience or more – is £104,927. According to [PayScale]({href='' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'}, the average NHS salary across all employees is £26,974.

General secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said the proposed pay rise ‘is pitiful and bitterly disappointing. The government is dangerously out of touch with nursing staff, NHS workers and the public.’ Labour leader Kier Starmer has also agreed the pay rise is unfair, with Labour claiming the proposal will actually amount to a pay cut for NHS staff in real terms as the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that it inflation rise to 1.5 per cent this year.

And Unison, the UK’s largest trade union, organised a public protest in the form of a slow clap - a nod to Clap for Heroes - stating that people should stand on their doorsteps and balconies to protest the ‘derisory’ pay rise.

'Millions stood on doorsteps and clapped for health staff who’ve given their all. Let’s now stand up for their right to fair wages,' Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said. 'Give the Chancellor a slow handclap for his miserly 1%. Times may be tough but this deal is below-inflation and derisory. It’s like the worst of austerity is back.

‘NHS staff have worked throughout the darkest days in health service history,' she continued. 'They were expecting a fair increase that reflects their exceptional efforts. Nurses, midwives, porters, cleaners and other health workers are upset, hurt and angry. There were 100,000 vacancies even before Covid hit. Now the health service will be losing staff quicker than they can recruit new ones. This offer isn’t just bad for staff. It’s bad for the NHS and the patients it cares for.’

A government spokesperson said of the pay rise: ‘Over one million NHS staff continue to benefit from multi-year pay deals agreed with trade unions, which have delivered a pay rise of over 12% for newly qualified nurses and will increase junior doctors' pay scales by 8.2%.

‘Pay rises in the rest of the public sector will be paused this year due to the challenging economic environment, but we will continue to provide pay rises for NHS workers, on top of a £513m investment in professional development and increased recruitment. That's with record numbers of doctors and 10,600 more nurses working in our NHS, and with nursing university applications up by over a third.

‘The independent pay review bodies will report in late spring and we will consider their recommendations carefully when we receive them.’

But what we’re more interested in is what the people receiving the pay rise have to say, because some of their reactions are heart-breaking. Because, NHS staff haven't just worked extra hard during the pandemic, they've put their lives at risk every day in order to protect the public. Mental health issues across all NHS staff are at an all-time high after a year of ongoing, intense stress and many of them are grieving having lost family, friends and co-workers being in such high-risk environments daily.

It's no surprise then that people are angry at the obvious lack of empathy or care for the people that protected us and saved lives during the pandemic - Boris Johnson's included. Just take a look at the reactions yourself...

Read More:

Terrified. Emotional. Uncertain. Lonely. Four Tales From The NHS Frontline

The Mental Health Toll Of Coronavirus On NHS Workers

As Well As Clap For Heroes, Here Are Some Tangible Things You Can Do To Help Health And Care Workers

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