Westminster should be 'shamed' into following Scotland's NHS pay offer, says union

The UK government should be "shamed" into following the lead of Scotland and increase its pay offer to NHS workers, union leaders urgue.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 1:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 1:53 pm

The Scottish Government announced that NHS staff in Scotland are to be offered a rise of at least 4 per cent, well above the 1 per cent recommended by the Westminster Government for England.

Scotland's Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the average pay of a frontline NHS nurse would rise by over £1,200 a year, recognising the "service and dedication" of staff during the pandemic.

The settlement will be backdated to December 2020 in recognition of an "exceptional year of significant pressure".

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Staff at Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary, February 2021. Picture: Lisa Ferguson/JPIMedia

Unison's 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 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."

Unions are campaigning for a bigger increase than the 1 per cent the Government has submitted to the NHS Pay Review Body, which is expected to respond in May.

The pay rise should have been paid on April 1.

Willie Duffy, Unison's Scotland Head of Health, said: "This past year has highlighted the dedication, skill and sacrifices that all NHS staff make.

"Their contribution must be recognised in their pay packets. It was simply not good enough to push negotiations to the summer and blame the UK Government for the delay so we are pleased to have made significant progress in these pay talks.

"However, the final decision on whether to accept this offer lies with Unison members and we look forward to consulting them in the coming weeks."

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