NHS workers taking pay dispute to Scottish Parliament

A union will stage a demonstration outside Holyrood later on Thursday.

NHS workers taking pay dispute to Scottish Parliament Getty Images

A union will stage a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament later on Thursday as part of a dispute over the pay deal for NHS workers.

Unison has invited health secretary Jeane Freeman and other MSPs to meet its members to discuss what working conditions have been like during the coronavirus pandemic.

The union’s “pay up now” campaign is calling for the three-year NHS pay deal to be renegotiated in light of the extra costs incurred by healthcare workers.

Union officials say they are moving to a consultative ballot on industrial action after failing to see progress from the Scottish Government.

Freeman has said several options are available, including reopening the final year of the current three-year deal.

Some 25 Unison members are due to take part in the socially distanced demonstration on Thursday.

Tom Waterson, head of Unison Scotland’s health committee, said: “Our dedicated NHS staff have suffered real-term pay cuts over the last decade, with significant extra costs over this pandemic.

“These are just ordinary people thrust into an extraordinary situation and they trusted the Scottish Government to recognise them fairly.

“Disappointingly this hasn’t happened and the time has run out for warm words.”

He added: “Unison are looking for Jeane Freeman to make good her promise of awarding workers something this calendar year.

“We urge health secretary Jeane Freeman to meet with us as a matter of urgency and get this resolved – we need to pay up now for health workers.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government remains absolutely committed to delivering the fairest pay deal possible for health staff in 2021-22.

“We remain in active discussion with all parties through the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) and have been meeting frequently, most recently on Monday, November 2, to conclude a negotiating mandate, so that formal pay negotiation can begin.

“STAC secretariat staff side representatives, including Unison, have also accepted the health secretary’s offer to meet with them to discuss the approach to the pay deal, in response to their latest letter.

“The health secretary has made clear her commitment to expedite negotiations and to consider bringing forward the agreed pay settlement if it is possible to conclude negotiations before the start of the new financial year.”

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