Unions back Scottish Government’s 9% pay rise for NHS staff

Unions have back a pay rise for NHS workers. Picture: PA
Unions have back a pay rise for NHS workers. Picture: PA
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Unions have backed the Scottish Government’s proposed three-year pay deal for NHS workers.

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.

Workers earning under £80,000 will receive a rise of at least 9 per cent over the period, while those earning more will get a flat rate increase of £1,600 each year.

Unions have welcomed the deal but raised questions over the future role of the UK NHS pay review body.

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Scotland’s biggest health union Unison urged the Scottish Government to break with the body and negotiate directly with NHS unions over pay and conditions.

Thomas Waterson, chair of the Unison health committee, said: “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.

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

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“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.

Unite members working in the NHS also voted to accept the pay offer, with 71 per cent backing it in a consultative ballot.

James O’Connell, Unite regional officer, said: “This was a complex pay deal which will deliver a well-deserved pay increase for our members.

“While we recognise the value of the offer to our members following years of austerity and pay restraint, we are not complacent.

“It is the start of a process of trying to make up for the years our members have struggled within a rigid pay policy. It is not right that they have had to wait several years to have their contribution properly recognised.

“Going forward we need to consider how we negotiate pay that will put money back in our members pockets faster and whether the pay review body is the right mechanism to do that.”

Members of the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland (RCM) accepted the proposals with 95 per cent voting in favour.

Emma Currer, RCM Scotland lead negotiator, added: “The RCM is pleased that our members have accepted this pay offer.

“It means that midwives, maternity support workers and other hardworking NHS staff in Scotland can finally begin to recoup the losses they incurred after years of pay freezes, pay stagnation and uplifts well below inflation.

“This is something the RCM and other unions have been fighting for. This is a good deal and one that we believe is the best that can be achieved in the current economic climate.”