Organiser Of NHS Pay Protest In Manchester Fined £10,000 Under Covid Regulations

A 61-year-old woman who organised a protest in Manchester over NHS pay has been issued a £10,000 fixed penalty notice for breaching Covid regulations, police have said.

Another woman aged 65 was detained at the march for failing to provide details having refused the opportunity to leave when asked.

She later provided details, was de-arrested and given a £200 fixed penalty notice.

The protest was over the government’s recommendation tat NHS staff should only receive a 1% pay rise despite spending 12 months on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

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 government’s NHS pay proposal faced a huge public backlash with even senior Conservatives speaking out.

An Opinium poll carried out on Friday and Saturday suggested as much as 72% of the population think the wage recommendation is too low, including 58% of Tory voters.

Speaking on Sunday, Boris Johnson claimed ministers gave NHS workers “as much as we can” as the angry backlash over the government’s proposed 1% pay rise offer continued. 

During a visit to a vaccination centre in Brent in north London, the prime minister would not be drawn on whether he would perform a U-turn over the proposed hike in pay for healthcare staff.

Nurses and other staff who could be affected by the “insulting” rise were preparing to protest outside Downing Street, in London, and in Manchester, on Sunday afternoon. 

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