MORE than 20 NHS workers marched through Bournemouth campaigning for a pay rise.

The protesters believe they should have a 15 per cent pay rise as their pay has not risen with inflation over the last decade.

Debbie Reynolds, 56, a community forensic nurse, leading the protest said: “I’ve worked for the NHS since the 1980s and I have moaned about things when they haven't been right but never done anything about it.

“I think when the government announced the pay deals in July for the public sector, teachers, police, I totally support that, but I was infuriated that we were totally omitted from that.

“The public have been lead to believe we had a pay rise in 2018 which was a three-year pay deal, however in real terms it was a pay cut, it was 21 per cent below inflation.

“There was a feeling we were so angry and frustrated so we thought let’s do something about it, so we started this #NHSPay15, we feel so strongly and passionate, we just want the government to listen to us.

“What we are asking for is a 15 per cent pay rise, which would just bring is in line with inflation so we’d have a proper working wage.

“This isn’t just for nurses, this is for all NHS workers so porters, admin, catering staff so that’s why I love this cause.

“Enough is enough, so we are actually going to do something about it.”

Campaigners walked from The Square through the gardens and stopped at pier approach.

Signs reading messages such as “Defend our NHS” and “the NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it” were held aloft.

Ms Reynolds continued: “When we were walking through the gardens, members of the public were cheering and clapping and that was really spurring me on.”

Gareth Drinkwater, 40, who works for the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, added: “It’s about the whittling down of pay that’s gone on over ten years.

“NHS workers will find themselves around 20 per cent worse off than they would have been ten years ago, it’s a continuation of below inflation deals.”

A spokesperson for the department of health and social care said: “We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our frontline staff, particularly during the pandemic.

“NHS staff are currently benefitting from the final year of a three-year pay deal, agreed with trade unions, which has delivered year-on-year pay increases, such as increasing the starting salary for a newly qualified nurse by 12 per cent by 2021.

“The independent NHS Pay Review Body makes recommendations to government on pay increases for NHS staff, including nurses, and we will consider their advice when we receive it, while continuing to listen to our valued staff and the trade unions to ensure everyone is rewarded fairly.”