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NHS staff urged to reject Scottish government 5% pay offer – union

Scotland largest health union to recommend NHS Scotland staff reject Scottish government 5% pay offer (Lynne Cameron/PA)
Scotland largest health union to recommend NHS Scotland staff reject Scottish government 5% pay offer (Lynne Cameron/PA)

NHS Scotland staff have been advised to turn down the Scottish government’s recent 5% pay deal by the country’s largest health union.

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the record-breaking proposed wages rise – which could amount to £2,400 a year for some frontline employees – was a “demonstration of how much we value our NHS staff who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe during the course of the pandemic”.

But unions have deemed the amount “unacceptable”.

UNISON Scotland’s health committee, which represents the health workers in the union, said it will ballot its members on whether they wish to accept or reject this latest pay offer.

It has recommended they turn down the deal.

Wilma Brown, chairwoman of the committee, said: “NHS staff are angry.

“They see bills going through the roof and feel the Scottish Government should be doing more to support them with the highest inflation in living memory.

“Having listened to the anger there is amongst the NHS staff, UNISON will recommend that our members reject this offer.”

A consultative ballot is the first stage towards taking industrial action up to and including strike action.

Ms Brown added: “We will run a consultative strike ballot in the coming weeks, and demand that the government look at the amount offered and the way the financial envelope is distributed.

“UNISON stewards have spent the last few weeks walking the wards and departments within hospitals and health care areas, speaking to their members and colleagues and are under no doubt about the feelings of NHS staff.

“Unless the Scottish government come to the table with an improved offer UNISON will press ahead with this ballot.”

The 5% pay rise deal, which would apply to nurses, paramedics, allied health professionals and healthcare support staff, is the largest pay rise ever to be offered to NHS workers since devolution.

But, in recent days, union leaders have repeatedly said the increase needs to go further, with Jaki Lambert, director for Scotland for the Royal College of Midwives saying the offer is “simply not good enough.”

UNISON Scotland said the proposed pay uplift for the period for 2022 to 2023 results in an annual increase for a senior manager at the top pay grades getting a £5,500 per increase, a £1,300 increase for an entry nurse, occupational therapist or physio and someone at the bottom of the pay scale getting around a £1,000 increase.

In response, a Scottish government spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Unison is recommending members reject this offer which, if accepted, will be the biggest single year pay rise NHS Agenda for Staff have seen since devolution, and will ensure that our staff continue to remain the best paid in the UK.”