Unison members accept Scottish Government’s 4% pay increase for NHS workers

Members of the Unison trade union have voted to accept the Scottish Government’s 4% pay offer for most NHS workers.

Unison, Scotland’s largest public sector union, had campaigned for the previous three-year deal to be renegotiated in light of the pandemic.

In March, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman set out the pay rise of at least 4% for staff with contracts under the Agenda for Change system.

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

Union officials say they will now push for the deal to be implemented as soon as possible.

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%, which will be backdated to December.

“The fact that 84% 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.”

Tam Waterson, chair of Unison’s health committee, said: “Through our negotiating and campaigning, Unison managed to bring talks with the Scottish Government forward from June to March.

“We negotiated a fair offer that is weighted towards the lowest paid workers in the NHS.”

However another trade union, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland, announced later on Wednesday that its members have voted to reject the offer.

Some 68.5% of RCN members who responded to the consultation on the pay deal rejected it.

RCN Scotland chairwoman Julie Lamberth said there should be further negotiations, adding: “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.

“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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