NHS workers are being urged to reject a proposed 4% pay rise being offered by the Scottish Government – with union leaders insisting it does not pay workers enough after a “wretched year”.
The GMB Scotland union is recommending its members turn down the offer when a consultative ballot is held next month.
GMB Scotland organiser Karen Leonard insisted: “The offer doesn’t value our members properly, it doesn’t restore the pay they’ve lost after a decade of cuts, and it doesn’t secure their future.
“That’s why we are recommending its rejection.”
She added: “We see this pay offer for what it is – a pre-election punt by an outgoing health secretary that looks better than it really is when put up against the insulting 1% increase for our NHS colleagues in England.”
Health secretary Jeane Freeman announced details of a pay deal to 154,000 NHS workers shortly before MSPs went into recess ahead of the forthcoming Holyrood elections.
The offer from the Scottish Government, which has been backdated to December 2020, applies to staff including nurses, midwives, paramedics and porters, and would see those on salaries below £25,000 receiving increases of more than £1000.
It comes on top of the £500 “thank-you payment” to health and care workers in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic.
Ms Leonard, speaking ahead of a demonstration by nurses and other NHS staff in Glasgow on Wednesday, said: “It’s been a wretched year for our NHS workers and the Covid-19 pandemic has not only pushed them beyond their limits, but it’s also exposed the many underlying problems in our NHS because of its managed political decline over the last ten years.
“After all the applause, we strongly believe the Scottish Government can and should go further on our members’ pay.”
She insisted this was the “least ministers can do after everything our NHS staff have done for all of us”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously described the pay deal – which is significantly above the 1% being offered to health workers in England – as a “fair deal for our NHS staff”.
Speaking last week, Sturgeon said: “This pandemic has shown us that every member of NHS staff is vital to the delivery of the service – we value our porters and cleaners just as we value our nurses and doctors.
“That’s why we believe all Agenda for Change staff should get a fair pay rise to recognise the enormous contribution they have made to keeping us safe in the last year.
“The Tories’ miserly 1% pay offer south of the border shows that they have the wrong priorities.”