NHS staff demanded Boris Johnson give them a fair pay deal as they handed a 480,000-signature strong petition to Number 10 today.
Hospital workers gathered outside the gates of Downing Street, holding placards which read “What about us, Boris?”
Almost half a million members of the public have now signed petitions organised by campaign group 38 Degrees, calling for all NHS workers to be recognised for their heroic efforts during the Coronavirus pandemic.
” Boris Johnson should think about the care he was given when he found himself in the hospital,” Christiana Alyegbusi a 69-year-old Primary Care Nurse told the Mirror.
“Look at the dedication you saw from nurses, people came out of retirement to help when we were needed.
“If you pay us well, then the country will not be short of nurses, and we need money more than we need clapping.”
The petition comes after NHS workers on lower wages – such as nurses and porters – were excluded from public sector pay awards announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Last week the Mirror revealed Mr Johnson faces a backlash in former ‘red wall’ seats if he refuses to offer pay rises to all NHS staff.
In May, Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised: “When it comes to how we reward people for their efforts… I will be making sure we fight to have that fair reward.”
Some four in ten voters who “lent” Mr Johnson their vote in 2019 said the government would have “broken its promise” if all staff don’t get an increase in a ComRes poll last week.
Ms Alyegbusi added: “Across the country, so many nurses risked our lives to fight this pandemic. We put ourselves and our families at risk to go and treat our patients.
“And for all that work and risk we deserve to be fairly compensated.”
And clinical nurse Laura Monje-Garcia, 45, said: “We have been working so hard since this pandemic started and making huge sacrifices.
“I couldn’t see my own partner during the pandemic as we fought the virus and I love this job. It is a vocation.
“But we need fairer pay.
“Since 2008 my actual take-home pay has only increased by £250 pounds – and I’ve been promoted in that time.
“I love the NHS, I love caring for people, but we need to be paid fairly.
“It isn’t just nurses either – this is about cleaning workers who at the height of the pandemic put on full PPE and went into wards to help clean up.
“Across the NHS we put our lives on the line – we deserve dent pay and recognition for it.”
The Government has said nurses weren’t included in this year’s pay settlement because they are two years into a three-year pay increase agreement.
Responding to calls for all staff to be given a fresh pay rise following the coronavirus pandemic, a Department of Health and Social care spokesperson said: “We are committed to supporting the entire NHS and social care workforce.
“We are incredibly grateful for all their hard work and dedication during the pandemic and we will continue to ensure all staff are rewarded fairly.”