Thousands of NHS workers across the UK will be taking to the streets on Saturday (8 August) in the growing campaign for pay justice for health service workers.

Anger is mounting as NHS workers were overlooked in the latest round of public sector pay rises – despite more than 500 NHS and social care staff dying from Covid-19.

Unite, which has a 100,000 members in the health service, is supporting its members wishing to attend the socially-distanced protests, so that the government can see the depth of discontent and frustration of NHS staff who continue to be in the frontline in the battle against Covid-19.

Unite has made its position clear on pay – that it is seeking a substantial pay increase for its members.

A key demonstration will be in London, starting at 11.00 am at St. James Park, with protesters then marching along Whitehall to Downing Street and ending with a rally at Parliament Square.  Stewards will be on hand to see that social distancing measures are adhered to. Protests will be taking place in other cities and towns across the UK. (Please see link to where the nationwide protests are in ‘Notes to Editors’.)

Last month, chancellor Rishi Sunak awarded up to a 3.1 per cent pay rise for 900,000 public sector workers, including doctors, teachers and police officers. Unite accused the chancellor of having ‘a selective memory’ when it comes to public sector pay, rewarding some, but ignoring hundreds of thousands of others.

Unite national officer for health Jackie Williams said: “Nursing staff and other allied health professionals have reacted with anger to being overlooked when pay rises were given to many in the public sector last month and the government not hearing the health trade unions’ call to bring their pay rise forward from April 2021.

“Last week, health workers marched to Downing Street to vent their anger that all their efforts during the pandemic, which has claimed so many of their colleagues’ lives, have appeared to be ignored when it comes to recognition in their pay packets.

“In a decade of Tory austerity, NHS staff has seen their pay cut by 20 per cent in real terms – and no amount of Thursday evening clapping and warm ministerial words can compensate for this dramatic loss in income.

“Poor rates of pay have contributed to the estimated 100,000 vacancies in the NHS and ensuing ‘recruitment and retention’ crisis.

“Unite is supporting our members wishing to turn out on Saturday. There will be a broad-based rolling campaign for NHS pay justice that will continue for the rest of the year.

“The public expects – and ministers should deliver – a substantial pay increase for NHS staff that reflects their real worth to the NHS and society more generally. NHS workers shouldn’t have to wait till April 2021.”

Unite has joined with 13 other health unions and professional organisations in the campaign to demand that pay talks start as soon as possible out of respect for the dedicated NHS staff who have battled Covid-19.

Unite said that the last three year pay deal, which ends in April 2021, had started to rectify the pay deficit, but this now needs to be substantially built on.


Notes to editors:

Details of each demo can be found on:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.