NHS strike action in Scotland halted after Unite workers accept ‘improved’ pay offer

Looming strike action across the NHS in Scotland by Unite members has been halted after workers voted to accept ‘improved’ pay offer.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A series of crippling strikes set to hit the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and the wider NHS over the winter have been called off, it has been confirmed. Unite chiefs welcomed the pay offer but stressed the drawn-out negotiations should be a warning to the Scottish Government not to take NHS workers for granted.

Workers voted yes by 64 per cent in the thousands to accept the improved offer which was tabled two weeks ago following extensive talks involving the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, NHS Scotland and the trade unions.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The improved offer represents on average a 7.5 per cent increase across NHS Scotland with up to 11.24 per cent for the bottom pay bands. It means the lowest paid will receive a flat rate payment of £2,205, and others will receive increases ranging from £2,280 to £2,660. The offer also includes a commitment to reduce the working week from 37.5 hours to 36 hours with no loss of pay.

Workers voted to accept pay offerWorkers voted to accept pay offer
Workers voted to accept pay offer

The Government claimed the “record high” pay offer would be the best in the UK. A newly qualified nurse would see a pay rise of 8.7 per cent, and experienced nurses and would get uplifts of between £2,450 and £2,751.

Trade unions estimate they’ve been able to secure a £515 million package for workers, an extra £35 million on the previous offer which led to a series of unions including Unite, GMB and the Royal College of Nursing to vote for industrial action.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “The improved offer for NHS Scotland workers which is worth over 11 per cent for the lowest pay bands is a testament to the resolve of our members. They were prepared to take the difficult step in taking industrial action but only because they had no other option left. Unite makes no apologies for fighting for better jobs, pay and conditions in the health service because NHS Scotland workers should be fairly rewarded for the outstanding work that they do day in and day out.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

James O’Connell, Unite’s lead negotiator for NHS Scotland, has welcomed acceptance of the improved offer. He said: “We believe that the improved offer was the best that could be negotiated under the present circumstances. It was ultimately up to our NHS membership to consider whether the offer was acceptable which they have now judged it be by 64 per cent.

“However, these protracted negotiations should be a warning to the Scottish Government. No longer can they take NHS workers for granted and platitudes are not sufficient. Words need to be backed up by action and the threat of industrial action didn’t need to be on the cards if the workers were made a fair offer in the summer. We will be holding the Scottish Government accountable for the commitments they have made and we urge them to start negotiations in the next couple of months to address the ongoing concerns within NHS Scotland.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.