Nurse Fined £10,000 for 1% NHS Pay Protest
Karen Reissmann, a former front line nurse, was fined £10,000 by Greater Manchester Police for arranging a peaceful protest in response to the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS staff. Now, almost two months since the protest, Bindmans, a London Law Firm, will be taking up her case.
The NHS Pay Rise Protest
Karen Reissmann, a nurse of 40 years, arranged a peaceful protest on 7th March 2021 to give NHS workers and sympathisers a chance to have their voices heard in response to the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS staff. Hung on a wall at the protest site had been a sign reading “We are Worth More than 1%”, as Karen and her fellow protesters spoke out against the “insulting” pay rise proposal.
The protest had been a continuation of rage felt throughout the NHS staff, with some venting their frustration on census forms, in the hopes of their fury being heard.
During the protest, police interceded, giving Reissmann a £10,000 fine for supposedly breaking Covid lockdown rules. This fine was submitted despite Reissmann ‘s offer of a full risk assessment prior to the protest taking place to prove the protest’s safety.
Additionally, Pat Gallagher, a 65-year-old fellow nurse, who had arrived late to the protest was given a £200 fine. Pet had grabbed Karen’s arm to ask her why she was being arrested, which resulted in the fine for obstructing an officer.
Karen Reissmann Activist Work
Karen Reismann has previously shown herself to be an activist for fair pay when she spoke out against budget cuts and privatisation of the NHS in 2007. This previous movement against unfair restrictions being placed in NHS staff resulted in her dismissal for “gross misconduct for matters unrelated to clinical practice”.
Reismann had been a senior nurse for 25 years within NHS psychiatric services but has lost her job, coming to a mutual agreement regarding her dismissal. She had received a settlement from her previous employers, but no further information was disclosed regarding the said settlement.
The Fine Case So Far
On April 1st, 2021 Bindmans, a London Law Firm, announced that they would be acting on behalf of Reissmann, and wrote to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) regarding the fine. They have stated in their communication with GMP that the police had interpreted the law incorrectly at the time.
According to Bindmans, the protest had not broken any laws and therefore should have been allowed to proceed as planned, meaning the fine against Reissmann should be withdrawn.
GMP, in response to the letter from Bindmans, responded a week later. Nick Bailey, assistant chief at GMP, explained that their lawyers had looked over the fine issued to Reissmann, and were satisfied that the fine was a necessary response. Bailey specifically states that the fine was “proportionate, legal, accountable and necessary”.
Bailey also added in his response to Bindmans that he feels the matter should go to Crown Persecution Services for further consideration. Reissmann, 61, is currently awaiting the verdict in regards to her fine, which she told The Guardian would take her 56 years to pay.