On the road for NHS pay

Regional secretary Tim Roberts reports back from UNISON Eastern pay battle bus in his latest blog

People gather round a stall next to a bus supporting a pay rise for NHS staff

It’s not often getting the bus to work is the highlight of your day, but when the bus is plastered in UNISON’s purple and green, building support for an NHS pay rise, it’s a different story.

I was delighted to hit the road again today, taking advantage of lockdown easing to get out and talk to health workers in Hertfordshire, listening to their experiences of the pandemic and finding out why they support UNISON’s campaign for a £2,000 pay rise for all NHS staff.

We only started this tour on Wednesday and already hundreds of NHS workers – and members of the public supporting them – have filled in postcards to their MPs backing a pay rise. Patients have been queuing up to send them in.

Two female ambulance workers hold a selfie frame supporting an NHS pay rise with a bus also supporting an NHS pay rise in the background

Earlier today, workers at Watford General Hospital fully backed the campaign, especially as it would mean proportionally more for the lowest-paid staff in the health service.

Evelyn, a nurse who came to Britain to work in the health service, said NHS workers had been “like soldiers” during the pandemic, slogging their guts out to keep things running.

Waste specialist Casey also visited the bus, saying her colleagues had been “saving the nation every day, one patient at a time.”

And healthcare assistant Vicky told me a £2,000 pay rise would be “amazing.” She said: “All the work through everybody has done through Covid. I think £2,000 is the least we deserve.”

These are the voices Sajid Javid and Boris Johnson need to listen to. These are the workers who have given their everything through the pandemic. All of them deserve a £2,000 pay rise.

We’ll be continuing to tour the region for the next couple of weeks, getting to as many hospitals and talking to as many workers as possible. Check our timetable for when we’re near you and come along and say hello.


One Team 2K