27 June 2018
NHS Scotland has offered workers a pay offer worth up to 27.7% over the next three years in a deal brokered by healthcare unions.
Staff earning less than £80,000 – almost 150,000 in number – would receive a minimum increase of 9% by 2021, with those currently in role but not yet at the top of their pay band offered larger increments and faster progression, improving their salary by between 11.3% and 27.7% over the same time. Workers earning over £80,000 would receive a flat rate raise of £1,600 a year.
If accepted by union members, the deal will be the first above-inflation increase they have received since before the recession and could begin to reverse some of the real wage losses NHS workers have suffered in that time. However, the unions said it could not undo all the damage wrought by years of austerity.
“This is not a perfect deal and it does not go the full way to recovering the losses incurred by health workers during more than a decade of austerity and pay cuts. But it puts money in our members’ pockets now so that many will reach the agreed rate for the job faster than they would have done with current pay arrangements,” Chair of Unison Scotland’s Health Committee, Tam Waterson, said.
Director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, Theresa Fyffe, added: “This is the largest pay rise offered to nurses in ten years and we believe it is the best deal that can be achieved through negotiation at this time”
“It has been a long road to get to this point,” she said, following the launch of a joint-union initiative called Scrap the Cap over a year ago, which “paved the way for these negotiations”.
“It’s a success story that shows how our members can have an impact on government economic policy,” she added.
Emma Currer, the Royal College of Midwives Scotland Lead Negotiator, said she believed the deal was “the best that can be achieved in the current economic climate” but promised that the union would continue to push for the settlement workers deserve. “We also see this as the starting point for better pay for NHS staff, not the end point,” she said.
GMB union, which recommended its members reject the 6.5% average pay increase offered to NHS workers in England and Wales, was also disappointed by the outcome in Scotland, warning that the agreement would also “commit staff to a programme of as yet undefined reforms to terms and conditions” as a condition of the rise.
“This is not a credible prescription for tackling a decade of austerity on staff working harder than ever to keep our NHS running day in day out,” the union’s Senior Organiser, Drew Duffy, said.