HEALTH workers protested for higher wages in recognition of their work during the coronavirus crisis.

In a series of linked, socially-distanced protests across Glasgow, nurses and key healthcare workers demonstrated in front of hospitals from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Glasgow Times:

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The Glasgow Times attended a protest outside the Royal this morning. 

Kathy Millar, Unison branch secretary for the hospital said that the protestors were demanding higher wages for all health workers, including domestics, porters and cleaners, essential for keeping the hospital running and controlling the spread of infection. She said that hospitals would "fall apart" without these key workers. 

The Health Secretary met with Unison members later today to discuss their demand for the three-year pay deal to re-open, in light of the added pressures of the pandemic but did not commit to a pay rise. 

Frances Carmichael, assistant branch secretary at the hospital said: "It's about time NHS staff were recognised properly."

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She added: "We're arguing that due to the cost of living increase, other public sector pay increases and also the added costs of working through Covid that it has been a huge cost to members, financially as well as mentally."

Glasgow Times:

Asked what she would say if she were to meet Jeane Freeman at the talks this afternoon, Ms Carmichael said: "NHS staff deserve a pay rise for the job that they do. 

"A lot of them go through years of university but we also have our domestic porters who are grafters and they have been at the frontline trying to keep the hospital as clean as possible and at the same time you have the nurses trying to save lives. 

"We're not saying that we're heroes and we deserve it more than everyone else. We all played our part but there needs to be the recognition that NHS staff are way behind in pay."

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The protestors gathered on Castle Street wore face masks and had to give their details to a member of staff taking data for track and trace. 

They were met with vocal and noisy support from the public and motorists passing by. 

Glasgow Times:

One woman - who did not wished to be named - was leaving the hospital and said: "It's outrageous our NHS staff are having to do this. It'd disgusting watching them having to do that, after what they have done and had to put themselves through. 

"The government better get a grip." 

Following discussions with Unison on a pay deal for NHS Scotland staff, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “As we are now in the last year of the three-year deal, we are working closely with NHS unions to agree a timetable to secure a new pay deal for 2021-22. Today’s discussions with Unison members and hearing from staff working on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic are a vital part of understanding the experience of staff and reaching a deal that reflects and recognises their efforts.

“I have been repeatedly clear that we are considering several options for this which take into account the efforts of NHS staff during the pandemic, and have not ruled out re-opening the final year of the current three-year pay deal as part of that 2021-22 deal.

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“This year the majority of NHS Scotland staff including nurses, ancillary, administration and Allied Health Professionals, have received a 2.95% pay rise as part of our three-year NHS Agenda for Change pay deal, which has delivered a minimum 9% pay increase for most staff, and over 27% for some still moving up their pay scale.  

“This is in excess of the 2.8% uplift announced for NHS dentists and doctors in England and Scotland. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on those working in our NHS, and we are hugely grateful for the extraordinary hard work, dedication, skill and commitment of all those working in NHS Scotland during this emergency.”