NHS staff deserve a pay rise.

You might not think that’s exactly a controversial statement – an overwhelming 85% of the public think pay should increase according to a recent UNISON/SavantaComRes poll.

The only controversy is how much and how soon.

Just 10% of people think health workers should have to wait until April, when the current three-year pay deal comes to an end, for a rise.

Unfortunately, it seems everyone on the government benches falls within that 10%. Ministers are resolutely refusing to engage, apparently aiming to kick pay talks into the long grass until next year when they hope public support will have waned.

That’s why UNISON is fighting for all NHS workers to get a £2,000 pay rise by the end of the year.

It’s an extra £1 an hour for healthcare assistants, radiographers, porters, midwives, paramedics and the countless others who have helped us going over the last few months — and look likely to be called again soon in the event of a second spike.

Most importantly, it would be a significant rise for lower-paid staff, taking the minimum rate to £10.23 an hour, over the real living wage.

We didn’t just pluck the claim out of thin air, it was formulated after an extensive consultation with our members in the NHS.

More than eight in 10 said they would support a £2,000 rise. And 70% said they wanted us to push for a flat rate rise to benefit the lower paid, compared to just 29% who wanted a percentage increase.

But it’s no good just congratulating ourselves on submitting a decent fair claim. If the Conservative government is going to start listening, we’ll have to make them.

That starts next week, with Two Days for 2K, 48 hours of workplace activity to build the case for an immediate £2,000 on every grade.

Health branches across the region are making their plans to get out and talk to health workers. From Cambridge to Southend, our activists will be doing walkarounds, building power in their hospitals. We’ll be encouraging members to write to their MPs asking them to come out in favour of an early pay rise.

Keep a look out for reps in your workplace and ask them how you can get involved. We are One Team in the NHS and we can unite for 2K.