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Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson joins NHS staff on the picket line at Ashworth as he slams Tory-Lib Dem Government for forcing staff to live below poverty line

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Labour’s MP for Sefton Central Bill Esterson said he was pleased to support NHS staff at Ashworth Hospital on the picket line on Monday morning as they battle to get a fair deal from the government.

NHS staff throughout the country took the first industrial action in over 30 years on Monday morning in protest against a broken pay promise from the Tory-Lib Dem Government.

Despite promising vital NHS workers a 1% pay increase, David Cameron and his Tory-Lib Dem Government reneged on the promise.

Bill Esterson said it was a betrayal of hardworking NHS staff "who deserve better".

Bill said: "I joined NHS staff at Ashworth on Monday morning for the first industrial action we've seen in the NHS for over 30 years. This government promised the staff a 1% pay rise, which is already well below inflation so equates to a pay cut. But despite that, Cameron, Clegg and Hunt decided to totally betray these members of staff and refuse them even the 1% they were originally promised.

"It is a slap in the face to the very people who keep the NHS going.

"People who I met on the picket line on Monday were telling me that many NHS staff struggle so much to make ends meet through already low pay, they have to rely on foodbanks to survive. That's a national outrage.

"This government is making life impossible for hardworking people. Hardworking people that we all rely on at some stage.

"It is an outrage how they are being treated."

Bill said it was testament to the staff's professionalism that they ensured that there was emergency cover throughout the strike period.

Bill said: "Despite being literally paid a pittance for doing vital, and in many cases lifesaving jobs, the people who were on strike on Monday didn't want to be on the picket line. They told me they would rather be doing their jobs. In fact the unions made sure that there was safe full emergency cover throughout the four hour stoppage.

"That shows you the professionalism these people have. They aren't in these jobs to get rich, but they do need to be able to make a living.

"They need to be able to put food on their own tables. This Tory-Lib Dem Government isn't even allowing them that.

"I fully support their fight for better pay and it is a fight that I will continue to fight for in Parliament."

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