NHS pay-rise demo organiser fined £10,000 in Manchester

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
A 65-year-old NHS worker attending the demonstration was briefly arrested

The organiser of a protest against the government's controversial 1% pay rise plan for NHS staff in England has been fined £10,000 by police.

About 40 people attended a rally in Manchester city centre at midday, officers said.

Public gatherings are banned by coronavirus rules and police said most demonstrators dispersed after officers asked them to leave.

A woman who works for the NHS, aged 61, was fined for organising the protest.

Another NHS worker, aged 65, was arrested for failing to provide details after initially refusing to leave.

She was de-arrested and fined £200 after complying, police said.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The government's plan has been widely criticised

Supt Caroline Hemingway said that "regardless of one's sympathies for a protest's cause, we would ask the public to maintain social distancing and follow legislation".

"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," she added.

"Unfortunately officers were met with a degree of non-compliance and it was therefore necessary to enforce issue fixed penalty notices."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
A protest was also held outside Downing Street on Sunday

The government has faced a 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.

It suggested a 1% pay rise for 2021-22, citing the "uncertain" financial situation. However inflation forecasts for this year indicate the proposed figure could be a real-terms cut.

The pay-review body will take evidence from other groups, including unions and NHS bodies, before making its recommendation around May.

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