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NHS staff who risked their lives during the coronavirus pandemic are demanding a pay rise and threatening strikes despite warnings of a second wave.

Nurses and other healthcare workers are demanding a 15% pay rise to reflect the contributions they made and to make up for "years of pay erosion".

Hundreds marched through central London on Saturday following a two-minute silence to remember the 640 healthcare workers who died of COVID-19.

Dressed in scrubs smeared in fake blood, they waved placards that read "blood on their hands", "stop clapping, start paying" and "priceless but penniless".

Image: Placards read 'blood on their hands' and 'priceless but penniless'

David Carr, a critical care nurse at St Thomas' hospital where Boris Johnson was treated for the virus, told Sky News: "I'm not a warrior, I'm not a soldier, I don't come to work expecting to die.

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"During lockdown, when these streets were completely empty, when everyone else was working from home, I was going to work, wrapping myself in PPE and looking after your loved ones.

"We can't afford to live on the salaries that we're on.

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"Considering what we've done during COVID, given how we worked, given that 640 of us gave our lives to fight this pandemic, we think it's an absolute outrage."

The protest comes after nurses were left out of a government pay rise thanking 900,000 public sector workers for their contributions during the coronavirus outbreak.

The pay increase does not apply to junior doctors after they agreed a four-year deal last year.

Nurses were left out of a pay rise for 900,000 public sector workers in July
Image: Nurses were left out of a pay rise for 900,000 public sector workers in July

Amid warnings of a second wave of the virus after a spike in cases, Mr Carr said his colleagues are prepared to strike.

He said: "If we don't get a pay rise, we will strike."

A&E nurse Ameera Sheikh added: "The government is liable for the 640 health workers who have died.

"The reckless decision making, the ignorance – they are liable for all these deaths.&Read More – Source