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Health workers in France are to be given pay rises worth €8bn (£7.2bn; $9bn) to recognise their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The French Government has reached the agreement with trade unions after seven weeks of pay negotiations and demonstrations.

France was badly hit by coronavirus, with more than 200,000 infections recorded and 30,000 deaths.

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Health staff worked hard to battle the crisis and there were many public displays of appreciation, but they wanted pay rises and more hospital funding instead of the recognition. The earmarked cash will give each average member of staff an extra €183 (£165) a month in their pay packet.

The new French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the agreement was a “historic moment for our health system”.

He added: “This is first of all recognition of those who have been on the front line in the fight against this epidemic.

“It’s also a way of catching up the delay for each and every one – including perhaps myself – has their share of responsibility.”

Meanwhile, in the UK health workers and unions have also been appealing to the government for it to consider reviewing NHS finances.

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A few weeks ago, just before the health service celebrated its 72nd anniversary, health unions and organisations asked the government to shelve “ministerial platitudes” and to set up imminent talks for a “beyond substantial” pay rise for next year and beyond.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said health workers would be “rewarded” but has refused to say whether they will get a pay rise.

The Good Morning Britain co-host Piers Morgan has waded into the debate and called on Prime Minister and Mr Hancock to grant NHS workers with a pay rise.

Referring to the financial package that France has announced, he wrote on Twitter: “This is what OUR health workers deserve @BorisJohnson @MattHancock, not your claps and meaningless platitudes. They stepped up, now YOU step up.”

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