Nurses protesting in Leeds today as Government urged to end pay cap

The nursing shortage is exacerbated by the public sector pay freeze, says the Royal College of Nursing.
The nursing shortage is exacerbated by the public sector pay freeze, says the Royal College of Nursing.

NURSES will stage a protest in Leeds city centre today as they press the Government to end the cap on NHS pay.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will be campaigning outside Leeds Art Gallery in a bid to build up public support for their ongoing battle.

Anne Kennedy, the Royal College of Nursing's council member for Yorkshire and the Humber.

Anne Kennedy, the Royal College of Nursing's council member for Yorkshire and the Humber.

They will be handing out postcards to passers-by and urging them to write to their MPS about increasing pay.

The event is part of a “summer of protest” planned by the RCN across England to give the Government a final chance to remove the cap before a ballot for industrial action is issued.

Regional RCN council member Anne Kennedy said the mood on wards and out in the community was changing.

Writing in the YEP yesterday, she said: “We are not exaggerating when we say that we now find ourselves in a situation which is neither sustainable nor tolerable.

“Ourselves, our friends and our colleagues are finding it hard to manage. Stress levels are rising, morale is plummeting and we have had enough.”

The RCN has calculated that its members in the region have lost out on £91m since the 2010 General Election.

Ms Kennedy said: “Since 2010, pay freezes and the one per cent cap on public sector pay increases have left NHS nursing staff at least £3,000 worse off in real terms, with salaries dropping by 14 per cent when compared to our spending power seven years ago.

“The pay cap not only leaves nurses struggling financially, it devalues nurses and nursing.”

The RCN said there are currently some 40,000 unfilled nursing jobs across England, with pay a potential factor.

New era? The site of the former Matthew Murray High School in Holbeck earmarked as a possible site for a new training ground for Leeds United

Green-light for Leeds United training ground and ‘sports village’ plans