Scottish NHS staff have been recommended to reject a record 5% pay rise offer branded “unacceptable” by union bosses.
Unite warned the Scottish Government strike action was inevitable unless the proposed wage increase for workers was revised, describing it as a “substantial real terms pay cut”.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf announced the offer as the “biggest single-year NHS pay uplift since devolution,” but it has been resoundingly panned by staff across all health service departments.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Royal College of Midwives both criticised the offer as not good enough” amid the soaring cost of living.
Unions are now expected to consult their members on potential industrial action later this summer should a new offer not be presented.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Unite’s NHS Scotland workers have made it crystal clear that the current offer on the table is a substantial real terms pay cut, and it is unacceptable.
“This pay offer certainly won’t address the current cost of living crisis facing our members.
“The Scottish Government needs to return with an acceptable offer to our NHS workers or face potential industrial action by our members, who will have the full support of their union in this fight for fair pay.”
The offer mirrors the baseline deal agreed in principle by members of the Aslef union following weeks of chaos in Scotland’s newly-nationalised rail operator, ScotRail.
Other pubic sector union workers, including the Fire Brigades Union, the Scottish Police Federation and Unite members at Marine Scotland, have all registered their unhappiness and pay rises tabled by the Scottish Government in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, those at the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union were due to hold talks with ScotRail later this week amid their own pay dispute.
James O’Connell, Unite regional officer, said: “Unite’s NHS representatives have formally recommended rejection of the current pay offer.
“Staff are exhausted, morale is at an all-time low, it’s time to recognise our NHS staff and pay them as if we care for them the same way as they care for us.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Unite is recommending members reject this offer which, if accepted, will be the biggest single year pay rise NHS Agenda for Staff have seen since devolution, and will ensure that our staff continue to remain the best paid in the UK.”