NHS pay row: Organiser of protest in Manchester given £10,000 fine by police
Written by Hitmix News on 7 March 2021
The organiser of a protest over the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS workers has been handed a £10,000 fine by police.
Officers attended the demonstration in Manchester city centre at around noon on Sunday.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said around 40 people had gathered “in contravention of current lockdown legislation”.
Image: Police officers lead one of the protesters away Image: Police speak to NHS worker Karen Reissmann after breaking up the protest
The organiser of the protest, a 61-year-old woman, was issued with a £10,000 fixed penalty notice, the force said.
A 65-year-old woman was arrested for failing to provide details after refusing to leave, according to GMP.
She later provided details and was de-arrested and given a £200 fixed penalty notice, it added.
Superintendent Caroline Hemingway said officers were met with “a degree of non-compliance” which meant fines were issued.
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Image: Protesters gathered in St Peter’s Square in Manchester
She urged the public to maintain social distancing and follow coronavirus laws “regardless of one’s sympathies for a protest’s cause”.
Supt Hemingway said: “With the positive step of schools reopening tomorrow, it is vital that people continue to follow government legislation on social distancing and avoid gathering illegally in large numbers.
“Regardless of one’s sympathies for a protest’s cause, we would ask the public to maintain social distancing and follow legislation to prevent a rise in infections and provide the best possible chance of a further easing of restrictions in the weeks to come.”
Image: A protester holds a sign referring to the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS workers
She added: “We sought to engage with and peaceably disperse those attending this afternoon’s protest, explaining that the gathering was in contravention of government lockdown rules.
“Unfortunately officers were met with a degree of non-compliance and it was therefore necessary to enforce issue FPNs.”
Boris Johnson has defended the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS staff after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) described the offer as “a slap in the face”.
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‘We’re giving heroic NHS as much as we can’
The prime minister said: “What we have done is try to give them as much as we can at the present time.
“The independent pay review body will obviously look at what we’ve proposed and come back.
“Don’t forget that there has been a public sector pay freeze, we’re in pretty tough times.”
The RCN, which has called for a 12.5% pay increase for nurses, said a 1% pay rise would amount to only an extra £3.50 a week in take home pay for an experienced nurse.
Image: A board outside the Salford Royal Hospital on Friday
At an emergency meeting on Friday, the union’s leaders voted to immediately set up a £35m industrial action fund should its members wish to go on strike.
Patricia Marquis, the RCN’s South East regional director, said there was a “real risk” that “significant numbers of experienced, expert nurses will see the end of the pandemic (and think) that enough is enough”.
NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts in England, said a long-term plan set out by the government assumed a pay rise of more than 2% for healthcare workers in 2021/22, claiming it was “enshrined in law”.