100 nurses have signed a letter to the Prime Minister, calling on the government to ditch the 1% public sector pay cap.
The Tories have so far promised to keep the cap until at least 2020.
Prime Minister May, who was asked about nurses having to resort to using food banks dodged the question by saying that there are “many complex reasons why people go to food banks.”
GMB national secretary Rehana Azam said: “The NHS is taking a real pounding and the government seems to think its staff can take the strain, carrying on doing more and more for less.
“We call on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to stop punishing the nurses we all depend on — end this cruel pay cap once and for all.”
Patrick Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity Trade Union said : “With Brexit upon us, we cannot and should not continue to exploit cheaper foreign nurses and start encouraging British citizens to take up the profession by paying higher rates of pay.”
The letter reads :
Dear Prime Minister,
Every day of the year – and all hours of the day and night – nurses are working hard in hospitals and in every one of our communities.
We go the extra mile for our patients in an NHS that is under unprecedented strain.
But the life of a nurse has become harder and harder in recent years.
At work, there are not always enough people on our shift to give the kind of care to patients that we would want.
At home, our families pay the price for cuts to our wage packets.
The Government failed to train enough new nurses and your cap on our pay means at least £3,000 less in our pockets each year.
How is it the case that, in 21st century Britain, some of our colleagues are forced to turn to foodbanks or ask for hardship grants just to make ends meet?
It is little wonder there are now 24,000 unfilled nursing jobs in the NHS in England.
Years of real-terms pay cuts have left nurses heading for the door, with some going to stack shelves in the supermarket instead.
The next generation of British nurses are being put off joining what is still a great profession.
Patients do not get the care they deserve from a nursing workforce that is short on numbers and low on morale.
Today is Nurse’s Day and there is no better time to shine a light – like Florence Nightingale – on the life of a 21st century nurse.
It is time for you and other Ministers to sit up and value nursing,
If you return to Downing Street after the election, for the sake of patients and nurses alike, you must scrap the pay cap and fill the tens of thousands of vacant nursing jobs.
100 nurses - and counting