Fair Pay for Angels – Why I am Striking

So why am I striking today Monday, 13 October 2014 for 4 hours 7-11am.

I’ve blogged before about how my parents are responsible for my political thinking, and striking is no exception.  I was brought up to believe you should look after those less fortunate than yourself and to put society’s needs  before your own.

I’ll be the first to tell you that the NHS is not perfect far from it.  But I truly believe that it’s central, to a caring society.  It’s the place where people go when they’re weak, vulnerable and in need of help. 

Continuing to improve and keep best practice with the patient needs being first.  Is best done in a service that is publicly lead and publicly funded, not corrupted by private companies that will put costs before people.  Just look at hold Pharmacy companies have over the NHS – making profit of people lives.

Don’t get me wrong cost-effectiveness is important to the NHS and there are some amazing examples that how this is currently being done.

So why in this time of economic uncertainty am I asking for fair pay, effectively being paid more for what I  do?  Well I’m not asking for me.

As a band seven working in the NHS I do okay.  I can afford to eat, fill my car with petrol and pay my mortgage,  however I’m single if I had dependents this will be a very different story.

The cost of living has dramatically increased, the weekly shop is more expensive, the yearly holiday becoming less affordable, filling the car and putting the heating on a weekly worry.

I happened to be in London this weekend and struck up a conversation with a taxi driver, as you do.  Once he learnt I worked for the NHS he called me an angel.  I argued with him saying I was not, I just do what needs to be done.

Maybe I was wrong.   NHS workers help people recover, they mend, extend, create comfortability, they change people’s lives – that sounds a bit like an angel to me.

Unison reports

People in the UK are facing the biggest fall in real wages since the 1870s. Thousands of public service workers have had their pay frozen and capped since 2010, and inflation means the value of their pay packet has fallen by an average of 16%.

All workers, whether they work in the public, private or voluntary sector, have faced major cuts in the value of their pay over the last few years. Meanwhile, the average director of a FTSE 100 company enjoyed a 14% pay rise in 2013, and dividends going to shareholders are expected to jump by 24% in 2014, hitting just under £100bn.

Rather than putting some of their wealth back into society, many millionaires (individuals and companies) are using off-shoring and loop-holes to dodge tax.  

Read more here http://www.unison.org.uk/our-campaigns/unison-campaigns/worth-it/the-facts/ 

That doesn’t sound fair to me, that doesn’t sound like society is looking after itself, that doesn’t sound like the angels are getting a fair deal.

Once they’ve looked after those in need, surely they should be able to go home and look after their own.

Fair pay for what they do,  that’s why I’m striking!

Published by otrach

Clinical Lead OT, working within acute and rehab mental health, 1/7th of the Otalk team. Lived experience of disability. All views expressed here are my own.

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