Members of the public are being urged to join a mass slow handclap in protest at a government recommendation for a 1% pay rise for NHS workers.
As the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced it has set up a £35 million strike fund that can be used to provide compensation for loss of earnings and campaigning should members decide to down tools, UNISON – the second largest in the UK – is urging people to stand on doorsteps and balconies on Thursday 11 March at 8pm to show how they feel about the pay offer.
Many NHS workers said the 1% pay rise proposal would only see them take home around £3.50 extra per week.
The RCN Council – which had been campaigning for a 12% pay rise – said it had quickly set up its strike fund 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.
She called the offer “pitiful and bitterly disappointing”.
Dame Donna also warned the government to expect a “backlash” from up to a million NHS employees over its announcement on pay, saying: “The government is dangerously out of touch with nursing staff, NHS workers, and the public. It is not a done deal, but the government has revealed its hand for the first time.
“With the time remaining before the Pay Review Body recommendation, the government can expect a backlash from a million NHS workers.”
On top of that, Unite – which also represents tens of thousands of health service staff in the UK – has also warned that it too is considering industrial action amid growing anger at the pay proposals they branded an “insult” and “hypocrisy in its greatest form”.
Ameera Sheikh – an intensive care nurse and Unite representative – said increasing living costs had left people struggling on stagnant wages, and that the government’s support earlier in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic now felt “fake”.
“We have sacrificed so much since the start of the pandemic,” Ms Sheikh added.
“And that includes moving out of our family homes to live close to the hospital and protect our families and live in complete isolation, which is something that I’ve actually had to do. We are facing an increasingly dangerous workload in the intensive care unit, and a lot of staff being redeployed to ICU without basic intensive care training.
“Also, the lack of PPE and having to reuse PPE or wear expired PPE and risking our lives.”
The Labour party has also hit out at the government’s proposal of a 1% pay rise for NHS workers, with Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, labelling it “disgusting”.
Party leader Sir Keir Starmer also said ministers must recognise the UK’s “COVID heroes”.
In response to the mounting backlash from the proposal and subsequent announcement of strike action, a government spokesman said earlier: “Over one million NHS staff continue to benefit from multi-year pay deals agreed with trade unions, which have delivered a pay rise of over 12% for newly-qualified nurses and will increase junior doctors’ pay scales by 8.2%.
“Pay rises in the rest of the public sector will be paused this year due to the challenging economic environment, but we will continue to provide pay rises for NHS workers, on top of a £513 million investment in professional development and increased recruitment.
“That’s with record numbers of doctors and 10,600 more nurses working in our NHS, and with nursing university applications up by over a third.
“The independent pay review bodies will report in late spring and we will consider their recommendations carefully when we receive them.”
You can find more information about the ‘slow clap’ protest via the UNISON website here.
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.