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Fresh from winning a thrilling round-of-64 men's singles match at Wimbledon, Andy Murray yesterday described the government’s proposal for a 1% pay rise for England’s NHS workers as ‘pathetic’.
The former world number 1 said he was delighted that Wimbledon had invited so many frontline health workers, medical scientists and other key figures of the Covid pandemic to watch the tennis in London SW19.
The All England Club has asked hundreds of key workers to attend the championships as a “small gesture to those who have gone above and beyond” during the pandemic.
Asked how it felt to play matches in front of such a crowd, Murray said: “So, yeah, it’s fantastic that they have been able to come along and watch some of the tennis. Hopefully they can enjoy it and, yeah, hopefully the politicians can realise that they deserve more than what they are getting paid just now.”
He added: “I think, what is it, they got something like a 1% pay rise? It was pathetic. So, yeah, they obviously deserve a lot more than that. They have done an amazing job getting us through the pandemic.”
Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the below-inflation pay increase for healthcare workers in March and justified it by saying it was all that was affordable after the economic toll of the pandemic. It was greeted with dismay from unions and the opposition parties, with the Royal College of Nursing describing the offer as “pitiful”.
Healthcare unions have been calling for an immediate pay rise of between 12.5% and 15% since July last year.
Unite’s national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, praised the Scottish tennis player's comments: “Andy Murray has served an ace in supporting the NHS workers’ pay claim,” he said.