The organiser of a protest in Manchester over the proposed NHS pay has been slapped with a £10,000 fine.
Demonstrators gathered in response to the government announcing that plans had been put in place for NHS staff in England to receive a 1 percent pay rise.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) attended what they described as a 'small demonstration' regarding public sector health pay at lunchtime today (7 March).
They say a crowd of 'around 40 people' had gathered despite the current coronavirus lockdown rules which state that no one should be outside except where necessary.
GMP say that after speaking to those involved, most people dispersed but one woman, 65, was arrested for failing to provide details having refused the opportunity to leave when asked. She later provided details and was de-arrested and given a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).
The force went on to outline that the organiser, a 61-year-old woman, was issued a £10,000 FPN.
GMP 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 [fixed penalty notices]."
Earlier today, Boris Johnson defended the pay rise plans, saying that workers are being given 'as much as we can' in the 'tough times'.
Speaking during a visit to a coronavirus vaccination centre, the Prime Minister said: "What we have done is try to give them as much as we can at the present time.
"Don't forget that there has been a public sector pay freeze, we're in pretty tough times."
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called for the government to make a U-turn on the offer of a 1 percent raise.
We need your help to tell the government their proposed 1% NHS pay award is not good enough. Nursing staff are skilled professionals deserving of fair pay. Support our #FairPayForNursing campaign and sign our petition.https://t.co/cJLYc7VfF2 pic.twitter.com/WoSPxfo94w
- The RCN (@theRCN) March 6, 2021
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: "This is pitiful and bitterly disappointing. The government is dangerously out of touch with nursing staff, NHS workers and the public.
"It is not a done deal, but the government has revealed its hand for the first time. With the time remaining before the Pay Review Body recommendation, the government can expect a backlash from a million NHS workers. Taxpayers are supportive of a significant and fair pay rise for NHS workers - this year of all years."