“It’s time for all of us to take a stand, if we don’t we won’t have an NHS left” said one nurse through the megaphone at the RCN pay cap protest in Leeds.
Iain Dalton, Leeds
Around 30 nurses in the RCN, official and supporters took part in a protest in Vctoria Gardens, Leeds City Centre and then outside the Department of Health building at Quarry Hill, Leeds.
Nurses were angry about how the NHS is being run down, with despite the RCN never having gone on strike before, 78% of the 55,000 members in the NHS consulted with said they would be prepared to strike against the pay cap.
The rest of the NHS and public sector unions should be preparing campaigns to co-ordinate strike action with the RCN. Given the wobbles of Teresa May this week over whether the cap would continue, RCN members felt confident that they could win this demand.
There was good support from members of the public in Victoria Gardens, with large numbers signing postcards demanding MP’s end the public sector pay cap. In real terms, since the pay cap was started in 2010, nurses and other NHS staff have had a 14% pay cut.
This was why after engaging the public, nurses headed up to Quarry House, where the Department of Health is situated to present an invoice for the £91m that nurses in West Yorkshire alone have lost due to the pay cap.
The protest attracted a lot of media attention, but it was clear to all their that this was just the start of the campign.