As I write this, it is April 1 and the government are treating NHS workers as fools. Our members should have been due a pay rise today, yet due to footdragging by Boris, Matt and Rishi, we still don’t know what NHS staff will be receiving and if it were up to them we’d only be getting a measly 1%!

Tory Politicians were happy to join the applause during the pandemic, but where is the real reward for the dedication and service of NHS workers? If we were lucky to live in Scotland, we’d already be considering a 4% rise backdated to December 1. That’s still not what we think our members deserve – and we are calling for a £2,000 rise for all workers. But it’s better than the English government are suggesting our members are worth this year, and don’t forget that NHS staff are still suffering from the 15% real terms reduction in pay under austerity caused by the bankers since 2010.

We don’t buy the argument that 1% is all that is affordable. You put money in the pockets of NHS workers and they spend that on local goods and services which cause a multiplier effect that then benefits shops and traders and is precisely the boost the economy needs at this time. A decent pay rise for NHS workers is only fair but it also benefits everyone in turn. Salisbury, in particular, would benefit from a good pay rise for NHS workers due to having a large general hospital here.

So today, we mark our non-pay-rise day, but won’t stand for being taken for fools and await the outcome of the NHS Pay Review Body process with interest.

Mark Wareham

Steward and Branch Secretary, UNISON Salisbury Health Branch and Staff Side Chair, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust