The organiser of Manchester city centre-based protest over the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS workers has been handed a £10,000 fine by police.
After receiving reports that about 40 people were in attendance at a demonstration in St Peter’s Square at around noon yesterday, officers from Greater Manchester Police arrived at the scene to find that the demonstrators had gathered “in contravention of current lockdown legislation”.
Public gatherings are banned under coronavirus (COVID-19) rules, and police said most demonstrators dispersed after officers asked them to leave.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, GMP confirmed that the organiser of the protest – a 61-year-old woman who works for the NHS – has now been fined the maximum £10,000, with another NHS worker, aged 65, also arrested for failing to provide details after initially refusing to leave.
The force then said the latter was de-arrested and fined £200 after complying.
Speaking on the demonstration, Superintendent Caroline 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.
“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.”
The aforementioned arrests and incidents of fining that occurred at Sunday’s demonstration have since gone on to receive backlash and criticism from members of the public, who have taken to social media to express their thoughts.
An opinion poll – published in The Observer newspaper – also found that more than 70% of people (72%) think the pay rise on offer is too low, while a fifth (20%) think it is right.
Yesterday’s demonstration comes as the government faces ongoing backlash after giving evidence on Thursday to the NHS pay-review body – which looks at nearly 1.5 million people, including nurses and health assistants, but not doctors, dentists and some senior staff, who have their own pay bodies or agreements – and suggesting a 1% pay rise for 2021-22, by citing the “uncertain” financial situation.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – which has called for a 12.5% pay increase for nurses – said that a 1% pay rise would only amount to an extra £3.50 a week in take home pay for an experienced nurse.
The RCN Council set up its £35 million strike fund on Friday in order to have the finances available to its members should they wish to take action.
“In setting up this fund, the RCN will create the UK’s largest union strike fund overnight,” said a statement.
Dame Donna Kinnair – Chief Executive and General Secretary at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – has condemned health minster Nadine Dorries’ claim that 1% was “the most” the government could afford, and called the offer “pitiful and bitterly disappointing”.
Following the mounting backlash, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the proposed 1% NHS pay rise – branded a “slap in the face” by the RCN” – during a visit to a vaccination centre in North London yesterday, stating: “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 [and] don’t forget that there has been a public sector pay freeze, we’re in pretty tough times.”
The pay-review body will take evidence from other groups before making its recommendation around May.
Herd of Santas descend on Manchester healthcare clinic for pre-Christmas ‘elf check’
A gaggle of Santas have been spotted visiting Pall Mall Medical healthcare clinic in Manchester city centre, getting their ‘elf checks’ in before Christmas.
The group were also joined by TV doctor Dr Hilary Jones, who has issued a stark health warning ahead of the festive season – especially for Father Christmas who doesn’t exactly have the healthiest lifestyle.
So scores of Saint Nicks gathered in Manchester today for an exclusive appointment with Dr Hilary ahead of their 41 million mile journey on Christmas Eve.
The private healthcare clinic on King Street, right in the heart of Manchester, will be offering health screens for everyone, with 20% off in December.
Today’s event at Pall Mall Medical was demonstrating the seasonal once-overs offered there with its ‘Santa Stop Here – Free Elf Check’.
It’s estimated that in one day, Santa Clause eats 2.3 billion mince pies and guzzles 138,389,578 litres of sherry – the same as 55 Olympic-sized swimming pools, or 181 million times the recommended weekly intake.
Concerned Dr Hilary, who is Pall Mall’s ambassador for health screens, said these eye-popping statistics justify Father C is in dire need of an elf MOT.
The health checks can detect ailments from prostate cancer to heart issues.
Dr Hilary said: “When you digest the figures, it’s a miracle Santa is still going strong.
“A lifestyle like his could lead to chronic fatigue at best – diabetes or heart disease at worst.
“We all love a mince pie or three during the festive season, but without sounding too much like a nutcracker he is going way Ho Ho Ho-verboard!
“Of course, Christmas is a time to indulge, but it is still smart to limit food and drink on the naughty list.
“Hopefully, Santa will take note and adopt an elfier lifestyle this year, so he doesn’t become a ghost of Christmas future next year!”
Watch more on Pall Mall Medical here:
Dr Chun Tang Medical Director of Pall Mall, who conducted the Santas private health screens added: “There is nothing more important than health and prevention is better than cure. A private health screen can detect issues before they become a serious medical concern.”
Throughout December Pall Mall Medical is gifting people a discount on private health screens to mark the festive period.
Simply quote ‘Ho Ho Ho’ at the reception desk and receive 20% off a Well Woman or Well Man health screens throughout December, and quote WINTER10 for 10% off GP appointments.
Manchester gaming bar NQ64 claps back at one-star review harassing its staff
A popular gaming bar in Manchester has clapped back at a one-star review that attacked a staff memberby calling them a ‘progressive student gimp’ for wearing a crop top.
NQ64, which has two sites in Manchester – one in the Northern Quarter, and a second on Peter Street – hit out at the rude reviewer this weekend in an act of bartender solidarity. The bar shared the insulting review, left by username Corbin A, to its Instagram page on Sunday alongside a sunny picture of its bar team: all wearing crop tops and grinning sassily into the camera.
The caption on its response post, which has already been liked over 2,200 times, read: “This one’s for you, Corbs – stay progressive x” with a peace sign emoji.
The full one-star review from the unimpressed Corbin A, who has left three reviews on the platform in total, read: “Half your time in there is spent stood waiting to go on games, the other half is watching some progressive student gimp in a crop top take 10 minutes to pour you one drink while he tries to act like a bartender making random throwing movements with glasses and bottles.”
Commenting underneath, followers chimed in thick and fast with their support for the bar and its staff, with one writing: “Please start selling crop tops that say ‘Progressive Student Gimp.'”
Another person said: “Bar staff solidarity! You love to see it ❤️ still the best bar(s) in Manchester.”
A third wrote: “f*ck yeah. This is why I love you guys!!”
A fourth added: “That review should surely be 5 stars! I mean this is a bloody good reason to go, no?!”
Full of retro arcade games and classic consoles, gaming fans can sip on cocktails, craft beers and spirit mixers whilst playing all of their favourites – including the likes of Pac-Man, Time Crisis 2 and Guitar Hero will be additions such as the Mario Kart arcade game, Time Crisis 3 and NBA Jam.
Arcade games are played using a token system, whilst elsewhere there are a selection MegaDrive, PlayStations, GameCube and Super Nintendo consoles for people to get stuck into.