Unison members vote to accept 4% NHS pay rise

Members of the Unison trade union have voted “overwhelmingly” to accept the Scottish Government’s offer of a 4 per cent pay rise for most NHS workers, while other unions have called for more negotiation.

Almost 50,000 Unison members were balloted on the proposal and 35 per cent voted, with 84 per cent accepting the pay deal.

Unison leaders will now push for the increase, which will be backdated to December, to be implemented as soon as possible.

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But the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) called for more negotiation after 69 per cent of members who responded to the consultation rejected the pay deal.

Picture: PA Media

The 4 per cent increase was set out by health secretary Jeane Freeman in March for staff with contracts under the Agenda for Change system.

Unison’s head of health Willie Duffy said: “This pay rise represents a fair increase for our members and means the majority of our NHS staff will receive a pay increase of at least 4 per cent, which will be backdated to December.

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“The fact that 84 per cent of those who took part in the ballot voted in favour of the pay offer shows how much this pay increase means to our members.

“Scotland’s health workers go above and beyond to keep our NHS services running – not just during the pandemic, but each and every day – and we’re delighted to have secured them a fair pay increase.”

But the RCN called on the Scottish Government to do more to recognise the value of nurses in Scotland.

“We know that this past year has exacerbated long-standing issues and has taken its toll on our members – they are exhausted and worrying numbers are considering leaving the profession,” said RCN chair Julie Lamberth.

“The pandemic has given the public a better understanding of the safety critical role of nursing and our profession’s contribution to the NHS in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government must do more to recognise this, to demonstrate that they value our nursing workforce and to address the years of underinvestment to ensure Scotland can retain and recruit the nursing workforce it needs.”

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