NHS Scotland crisis: Unions express anger at Scottish Government plan to implement rejected pay deal

The Scottish Government has been accused of “ignoring” NHS workers and imposing a “real terms wage cut” on them after health secretary Humza Yousaf announced plans to implement a disputed pay deal.

Humza Yousaf said he remained committed to "meaningful dialogue" with NHS unions as he announced the government would roll out the "record" deal in the face of continuing opposition from several trade unions. He met with representatives from those unions on Friday to discuss the ongoing dispute, but no new offer was forthcoming.

The pay increase, described by Mr Yousaf as the "best and final" offer, has been accepted by Unite and Unison. However, the GMB union, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland and Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have rejected it. It will see wages rise by an average of 7.5 per cent, with those on the lowest pay packages seeing an increase of 11.3 per cent.

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Mr Yousaf’s stance has sparked anger among unions, with RCN Scotland now pressing ahead with planning for unprecedented strike action early next year.

Colin Poolman, its director, said: “RCN members working in the NHS resoundingly rejected this offer and now, for the second year in a row, the Scottish Government is ignoring them and imposing what is a real-terms pay cut.

“I have written to the cabinet secretary to express the anger that I know many members will be feeling at this news. Mr Yousaf says that he is open to continuing discussions with the RCN to try to avert strike action, but any further talks must be meaningful.”

Following the meeting with union leaders, Mr Yousaf was clear that there is no additional money that can be added to the 2022/23 deal - but promised to make early progress on next year's pay offer.

He said: "We believe it is right to get additional money into the pay packet of NHS staff in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. NHS staff need the certainty of a pay uplift in this financial year, and I can only do this by implementing the deal now."

He added: "I am absolutely committed to meaningful dialogue with trade unions in order to avert strike action and am prepared to meet throughout the festive period to continue that dialogue.”



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