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by Chris Marshall
25 March 2021
NHS staff in Scotland offered four per cent pay rise

NHS staff in Scotland offered four per cent pay rise

Staff working in the NHS in Scotland are to be offered a four per cent pay rise following discussions between employers, unions and the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government said the deal was the most generous offer anywhere in the UK, and represented the biggest annual increase since devolution.

Earlier this month, the UK government was criticised for offering a one per cent deal to hospital staff in England.

Following suggestions that nurses could quit the health service, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was the best offer available amid the squeeze on public finances caused by the pandemic.

Announcing the offer in Scotland last night, the Scottish Government said the rise would ensure staff on pay bands one to seven would receive at least a four per cent rise compared to 2020-21, with staff who earned less than £25,000 in 2020-21 getting a guaranteed minimum increase of over £1,000 in 2021-22. 

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Following positive discussions with NHS unions and employees the Scottish Government has put forward an offer of the biggest single pay uplift since devolution for NHS Agenda for Change staff. 

“Over 154,000 staff would benefit from this rise, which would see the average pay of an frontline NHS nurse rise by over £1,200 a year. 

“This deal also includes support staff such as domestic staff, porters and health care support workers, the backbone of our services, who would see pay rises of over £1,000 – uplifts of between four per cent and 5.4 per cent. 

“The uplift will be backdated from 1 December 2020, rather than the usual 1 April 2021, meaning all those covered by the deal will receive an extra benefit.”

She added: “This has been an exceptionally challenging year for our health service and I am pleased that the Scottish Government is able to recognise the service and dedication of our healthcare staff.”

Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland's 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.”

Scottish Labour's health and social care spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, welcomed the pay offer, but said it failed to consider social care workers, who had been “offered pennies in comparison”. 

She said: “Social care staff – our unsung heroes of the pandemic – have been forgotten. That is why Scottish Labour is committed to delivering a national recovery that values proper pay and respect for the social care workforce, with a wage rise to £15 an hour with an immediate increase to £12 an hour – anything less is an insult.” 

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