NHS staff encouraged to back 'best that can be achieved' pay deal

Unison said the rise of 11% for some of the lowest paid workers should be accepted by members but warned work was need to 'fix' the health service.

Scottish NHS staff encouraged to back Government pay deal as Unison hails ‘best that can be achieved’ iStock

Health workers have opened voting on a pay deal recommended for acceptance by one of the country’s largest unions.

Unison said the tabled 11% wage rise for certain workers was “the best that could be achieved” after months of negotiations with the Scottish Government and the threat of strike action which would have brought the health service to its knees.

Over 50,000 NHS staff, which include nurses, midwives, cleaners and porters, are now set to vote on whether to accept the offer – worth an average of 7.5% across all pay bands.

It includes the “largest ever” increase for the lowest paid workers, according to health secretary Humza Yousaf, alongside more modest rises for doctors and management.

The digital ballot for members opened on Monday and is to close at noon on December 12.

Unison health committee chairperson, Wilma Brown, said the offer “would go some way” to helping staff through the cost of living crisis, but warned further efforts were needed to level up the health service.

She added: “We have decided to recommend this offer to our members, as we believe it’s the best that can be achieved through negotiations.

“However, as we have said to the Scottish government, there’s a huge amount of work to do to get our NHS back to being world class again.

“This must be the start of the reforms and investment needed to get the NHS back to full health.”

Unite meanwhile suspended work-to-rule action involving ambulance drivers scheduled for last Friday, while the GMB postponed similar action due to take place this week. Both are consulting members on the offer.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it would consider the terms but warned they still “did not meet expectations”.

It came after teachers walked out of classrooms last Thursday over a pay deal for public sector workers. Members of the EIS union have since announced 16 new strike dates across January and February next year.

Matt McLaughlin, Unison Scotland’s head of health, said: “Our digital consultative ballot will launch today and run for two weeks.

“Our branches and activists will be encouraging members to accept this final offer. However members decide to vote it is important they have their say and we’re urging members to make sure they vote before noon on December 12.” 

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