NHS staff in Scotland have been offered a pay rise of at least 4%, the Scottish Government said on Wednesday, with unions and members now considering the offer.
The announcement came following discussions between the government, trade unions and NHS employers over a pay rise for NHS Scotland Agenda for Change staff – those directly employed by health boards.
Staff on pay bands one to seven would receive at least a 4% pay rise compared with 2020/21, with workers earning less than £25,000 in 2020/21 guaranteed a minimum increase of more than £1000 in 2021/22.
But the offer falls short of what campaigners and unions had been calling for previously. In January, Unison called for all NHS workers to be given a pay rise of £2000.
Earlier this month nurses hit out at a 1% interim pay rise, and told STV News that short of 15% would not make up for what they condemned as real-term pay cuts over the past decade.
NHS Workers Say No campaigners have previously threatened to strike over the issue.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Following positive discussions with NHS unions and employees the Scottish Government has put forward an offer of the biggest single pay uplift since devolution for NHS Agenda for Change staff.”
Trade unions will discuss the latest offer with members. If the 4% rise is accepted by staff, the government says the it will benefit 154,000 NHS Agenda for Change employees – including nurses, paramedics, allied health professionals, as well as domestic, healthcare support staff, porters and other front line health workers.
Last year, nurses and other frontline NHS workers staged a number of protests after they were left out of a public sector pay rise.
Doctors and dentists, along with other public sector staff, were given a pay bump of 2.8% but this did not include all NHS workers with nurses, cleaners and porters left out.
Following Wednesday’s announcement, the UK Government is facing pressure to increase its proposed pay rise.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland’s NHS staff “deserve more than applause and 1% is not enough” – a reference to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK Government’s recommendation to give NHS workers in England a pay rise of just 1%.
A union has said Westminster should be “shamed into following the Scottish example”.
Sara Gorton, head of health at Unison, said: “This shows where there’s a political will there’s most definitely a way.
“Valuing health staff and investing in the NHS is a political choice.
“One that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are choosing not to make.
“After a long and difficult year, a decent pay rise for NHS staff should be a simple decision to make and popular with the public.
“The Westminster Government should learn from the approach being adopted north of the border on NHS pay and be shamed into following the Scottish example.”
Previously, ministers have argued that 1% is all that can be afforded due to the Covid-19 pandemic and as other public sector workers face a pay freeze.