Email to Nurses United’s Lead Organiser

“…Thanks for getting in touch and apologies for the delay in getting back to you below are the answers to the 4 questions. 

You’ve been doing really good work – best wishes to everyone at Nurses United.
In solidarity, Roger 

  • Do you support a claim for a 15% pay rise within the NHS?

I support the claim for £2,000 which must be for all NHS staff – not just Nurses – and also must include all those working in the private sector for companies like SERCO and Sodexo. But I don’t think anyone believes that it is anywhere near enough. 15% is the absolute least that is deserved to make up for their 20% loss of pay in real earnings. The government asked us to clap for NHS workers at the height of this pandemic. Now it’s time to pay them what they deserve. But we must back that up with mass membership and I urge all NHS staff to join UNISON.

  • Have you attended or spoke at an #NHSPay15 rally and if so which one and when? 

In the current situations of lockdown I have not been travelling but have been able to send messages of support. My focus though is for a pay deal for all workers in the NHS, including all the Nursing staff, those in Trusts and those working for agencies or in the private sector. The best way for NHS workers to win a pay deal is to join UNISON. I would say to our members – sign up your work mates for UNISON as part of this campaign, that is the first step in winning this.

  • Do you think that UNISON should be organising its members on the ground to take action for a pay rise in April 2021?

My view is simple, we make demands that we can and must back up with action: to do that we need a bigger, more powerful union. As Assistant General Secretary I supported health workers in winning a 17% pay rise in Knowsley and St Helens NHS Trust. We accomplished this by organising from the ground up, building a culture of assertiveness. As General Secretary I want to build a union that is smart enough and tough enough to win for workers in a time of crisis. That starts with empowering members – and working with grassroots networks like Nurses United. We absolutely should be organising for 15% and more; and if elected I’ll prioritise this from Day One.  

  • Do you think that UNISON should be pursuing a ballot for industrial action if we do not receive a receive a double digit percentage pay rise in April 2021

Yes if that’s what our members want. I want our members to know we’ll have their back in whatever action they take – giving them the tools and resources to build and organise in the workplace and beyond, and running a national office that catapults disputes into the public eye. A union’s strength comes from its ability to strike; I will be guided by organised health workers on the course of action we take but I am not going to be a General Secretary that ducks fights which our members desperately need to win. I will be a General Secretary that supports workers in struggle, just as I always have as Assistant General Secretary, and right from being a young union activist on building sites.”

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