HEALTH workers in Scotland are to get a 1 per cent pay rise for the second year running, in a move SNP ministers hailed as “a better deal than their counterparts south of the Border”.
Staff in Scotland’s NHS will receive the consolidated wage increase, with those earning less than £21,000 being given additional money to ensure their pay goes up by at least £300.
The award was made after the Scottish Government accepted recommendations put forward by the NHS Pay Review Body and Doctors’ and Dentists’ Pay Review Body.
Scotland was the only part of the UK to agree to the request for a pay rise for NHS staff in 2014-15, although the devolved administration in Wales has sought to make improvements to the wages of its health service employees.
Health secretary Shona Robison said Scotland’s NHS staff were now on the “highest comparable rates” in the UK.
She said: “Our hardworking and dedicated NHS Scotland staff will rightly receive the wage increases they were promised.”
She added: “It comes against the background of substantial cuts in Scotland’s budget from Westminster, and will continue to give NHS staff in Scotland a better deal than their counterparts south of the Border.”
Ms Robison went on to state that NHS workers in Scotland were also paid a “Living Wage” of £7.85 an hour – a voluntary rate that those directly employed by the Scottish Government receive.
She said: “As well as delivering the fully consolidated pay rise for NHS staff, and guaranteeing that all employees are paid at least the living wage, we are also committed to no compulsory redundancies for NHS Scotland staff. This stands in contrast to the actions of the UK government, who are not providing the same for staff in NHS England.”
The latest pay increase for NHS workers Scotland will mean that from 1 April this year the starting salary for a Band 5 nurse in Scotland will be £21,818, with the Scottish Government stating this is over £120 more than in England and Wales.
For an experienced Band 5 nurse at the top of their pay scale wages in Scotland will be increased to £28,462, which is £282 more than south of the Border, according to the Scottish Government.
However, Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone accused the SNP of trying to stoke resentment among NHS workers north and south of the Border to promote nationalism.
He said: “Everything the SNP does is about trying to stir up resentment and the politics of grievance is the party’s stock in trade. Doctors and nurses should feel disgusted that their position as health service workers is being exploited by the SNP government for reasons that are nothing to do with promoting the NHS.”
Unions welcomed the increase but said the award did not properly recognise the pressures placed on hospital staff and past wages restraint.
Royal College of Nursing Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “This modest pay rise, however, comes at a time when staff are under unprecedented pressure and working flat out to cope with the increasing demand on services in our hospitals and out in the community.”
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