Health union urges Scottish Government to break with pay review body

Scotland's biggest health union has called for the Scottish Government to break with the UK's NHS pay review body.
Scotland's biggest health union has called for the Scottish Government to break with the UK's NHS pay review body.
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Scotland’s biggest health union has called for the Scottish Government to break with the UK’s NHS pay review body.

Unison urged Scottish ministers to negotiate directly with NHS unions over pay and conditions as it confirmed members had voted to accept a new three-year pay deal.

Under the proposals nurses, midwives and paramedics are to be offered a minimum 9 per cent pay rise over the period.

The Scottish Government says its proposals will benefit 147,000 staff under the health services’ agenda for change pay system but would be linked to reforms to terms and conditions.

Unison accused the UK’s NHS pay review body, which negotiates with health unions on behalf of the NHS across the UK, of failing to listen to its concerns.

The union wants the Scottish Government to set up pay negotiating structures directly with NHS unions in Scotland.

This year is the first that Unison and other health unions have submitted a pay claim direct to the Scottish Government.

Thomas Waterson, chair of the Unison health committee, said: “Today I am pleased to announce that 94 per cent of Unison members have voted to accept a pay deal which will put an additional £400m into NHS workers pay packets in Scotland.

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“This deal delivers real increases of between 3 per cent and 27 per cent for NHS workers in Scotland.

“The strong endorsement by Unison members makes it clear that we do not need to wait cap in hand for the pay review body. This institution as it stands is dead in the water.

“Eighteen months ago some people said that we couldn’t negotiate a separate pay deal for NHS workers in Scotland. Then they said that we couldn’t negotiate a better deal for Scotland.

“The Scottish Government should commit now to develop negotiating structures in Scotland and allow us to self determine on pay.”

The union consulted almost 60,000 NHS workers in Scotland in a four week ballot.

Matt McLaughlin, Unison Scotland head of health, added: “This is a good result for Unison members and I am happy that across Scotland we reached out to and engaged with the vast majority of our members. Their decision is a ringing endorsement of the offer.”