British nurse fined £10,000 for 1 per cent pay protest
Sixty-one-year-old nurse Karen Reissmann is hammered with a £10,000 fine, despite taking all precautions to ensure her protest was COVID-safe.
Karen and 40 colleagues were protesting in St Peter’s Square, Manchester, against the government’s one per cent pay rise for NHS workers.
She has worked as a frontline nurse throughout the pandemic, and was handed the fine in March despite offering a risk assessment of her protest to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and ensuring it was COVID-safe. She had limited the number of protesters to guarantee social distancing.
GMP assistant chief constable, Nick Bailey, said the force’s lawyers had reviewed the £10,000 (A$18,000) fine and were “satisfied that the issue was proportionate, legal, accountable and necessary in the circumstances”.
Karen, who has been a nurse for 39 years, told The Guardian: “Somebody calculated that if I used my one per cent pay rise, it would take me 56 years to pay off the fine.”
Karen said she believed the force’s desire to prosecute was meant to intimidate other nurses from organising protests.
“It’s so punitive; clearly designed to stop others. I know people who stepped back from protesting because they were afraid of the £10,000 fine,” she said.