NHS workers urged to reject proposed 4% pay rise offer from Scottish Government

NHS workers are being urged to reject a proposed 4 per cent pay rise being offered by the Scottish Government, with union leaders insisting it does not pay workers enough after a “wretched year”.

By Katrine Bussey
Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 7:00 am

The GMB Scotland union is recommending its members turn down the offer when a consultative ballot is held next month.

GMB Scotland organiser Karen Leonard insisted: “The offer doesn’t value our members properly, it doesn’t restore the pay they’ve lost after a decade of cuts, and it doesn’t secure their future.

“That’s why we are recommending its rejection.”

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A frontline NHS worker. Picture: Picture Michael Gillen/JPIMedia

She added: “We see this pay offer for what it is – a pre-election punt by an outgoing health secretary that looks better than it really is when put up against the insulting 1 per cent increase for our NHS colleagues in England.”

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Health secretary Jeane Freeman announced details of the pay deal to 154,000 NHS workers shortly before MSPs went into recess ahead of the forthcoming Holyrood elections.

The offer from the Scottish Government, which has been backdated to December, applies to staff including nurses, midwives, paramedics and porters, and would see those on salaries below £25,000 receiving increases of more than £1,000.

It comes on top of the £500 “thank-you payment” to health and care workers in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic.

Ms Leonard, speaking ahead of a demonstration by nurses and other NHS staff in Glasgow on Wednesday, said: “It’s been a wretched year for our NHS workers and the Covid-19 pandemic has not only pushed them beyond their limits, but it’s also exposed the many underlying problems in our NHS because of its managed political decline over the last ten years.

“After all the applause, we strongly believe the Scottish Government can and should go further on our members’ pay.”

Ms Leonard insisted this was the “least ministers can do after everything our NHS staff have done for all of us”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously described the pay deal, which is significantly above the 1 per cent being offered to health workers in England, as a “fair deal for our NHS staff”.

Speaking last week, Ms Sturgeon said: “This pandemic has shown us that every member of NHS staff is vital to the delivery of the service.”