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As Tories Celebrate Pay Cap Victory, Here's The Everyday Heroism Of Public Sector Workers It Affects

It's easy to forget the people this decision affects.

29/06/2017 13:03

The defeat of Labour’s attempt to end the pay freeze on public sector workers was met with cheers from some Tories, as the Government achieved its first victory of the new parliament.

But with millions of firefighters, police, medics, and teachers affected by the cap, it can be easy to forget the real people behind Thursday’s decisions.

Here are five everyday heroes of the public sector, bound by the one percent cap on pay, who have come to prominence during the recent spate of attacks and tragedies.

1 Grenfell firefighter April Cachia

April Cachia was on her first proper shift when the call to head to Grenfell Tower came in

Shoreditch-based firefighter April Cachia, 26, was just ten days into her role - and on her first ‘live’ shift - when the call came in to attend the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Cachia, who previously worked in an office, told the Daily Mail after: “I’d never done this before but there was something inside me telling me every step of the way this is what I have to do now. I’ll never forget the things people say as you’re helping them out.”

Journalist Ian Dale tweeted a photograph of shattered firefighters resting after the blaze in North Kensington.

Firefighters are among the public sector workers bound by the public sector pay cap of one percent.

2 Manchester arena first responder PC Danielle Ayers

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
PC Danielle Ayers was among the first responders at the Manchester Arena 

PC Danielle Ayers was among a group of British Transport Police to arrive at the scene of the Manchester Arena bombing, just as terrified concert-goers fled and smoke billowed around them.

Ayers said that, at one point, she took out her earpiece to continue helping those injured by the blast - as commands to be mindful of a secondary device became distracting.

“I took my ear piece out and carried on doing first aid,” she told the Manchester Evening News.

3 London Bridge responder PC Wayne Marques

ITN
PC Wayne Marques was injured in the London Bridge attack

The police officer who charged the knife-wielding London Bridge attackers with just his baton has described how he immediately lost sight when one of them stabbed him in the face.

In his first interview since the attack, Marques recalled the moment he was struck by an attacker.

“I only had one voice in my head and that was ‘don’t go down’. That’s all I had. For me the voice was the big man upstairs. The guardian angel, whatever you believe,” he said.

Police officers across all forces, like Ayers and Marques, are bound by the one percent cap on pay. The Conservatives, alongside the DUP, also voted against Labour’s proposal to recruit more officers.

4 Westminster attack medic Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya

PA
Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya stands by after treating Westminster attacker Khalid Masood and his victim PC Keith Palmer

Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya rushed to the scene of March’s Westminster attack and immediately began treating downed suspect Khalid Masood. 

Casting aside hesitation, Dr Wijesuriya donned gloves and rolled up his sleeve to give Masood essential aid after he was shot by armed protection officers.

Wijesuriya, a junior doctor, also helped treat two of those injured, including PC Keith Palmer.

Doctors like Wijesuriya will be among the public sector workers bound by a one percent cap in pay from next year. Nurses and other medical staff have been affected by the ceiling on pay rises for five years.

5 Teacher Liane Nicholson

Facebook
Teacher Liane Nicholson amended her lesson plans in the wake of the Manchester bombing

In the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing, Leeds-based teacher Liane Nicholson tore up her lesson plans to offer her class of five-year-olds some alternative perspective.

She wrote on Facebook: “In light of what has happened last night I decided that my class of 5 year olds were not going to be made to spend their morning doing phonics and listening to the maths input. Instead we went outside turned our face to the sunshine and lived.”

She was widely praised by parents online. “Wonderful teacher we need more like you well done,” one person wrote in the comments.

But Nicholson is among the 438,000 teachers affected by the government’s pay cap.

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