UNISON has responded to the announcement that the Scottish government has made a pay offer to NHS workers, saying the Westminster government should be “shamed into following the Scottish example”.
Over 150,000 NHS Scotland staff are set to be offered a pay rise of at least 4% by the Scottish government. The move will benefit NHS workers who have contracts under the Agenda for Change system, which would also give staff at the lowest pay point a pay rise of 5.4%.
Agenda for Change is the national pay system for all NHS staff expect for senior managers, doctors and dentists. Under the proposals, staff on pay bands 1 to 7 are due to receive at least a 4% increase in pay compared with 2020/21, with workers that earn less than £25,000 guaranteed a minimum increase of more than £1,000 in 2021/22.
Announcing the plan, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter:
Our NHS staff deserve more than applause and 1% is not enough. @scotgov is offering a 4% pay rise, which would deliver guaranteed minimum increase of £1000 for those earning less than £25,000 & 5.4% increase for staff on lowest pay band…and all backdated to December 2020. https://t.co/ZsQvXMt16Q
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 24, 2021
Among the NHS workers included in the Agenda for Change scheme are nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals, as well as healthcare support staff, porters and other frontline workers.
The Scottish government said that if the deal is accepted, it will be the “most generous National Health Service pay uplift anywhere in the UK”.
By contrast, nursing staff in England have been offered a 1% pay rise by the Conservative government – which represents a real-terms pay cut.
UNISON, the UK’s largest trade union which represents NHS staff as well as other public sector workers, said that the proposals in Scotland show that it is possible to give NHS staff a “decent pay rise” and urged the government to reconsider their offer of 1%.
UNISON head of health Sara Gorton 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 be 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.”
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