Scotland

NHS Scotland staff offered 9% pay rise over three years

NHS staff Image copyright Getty Images

The bulk of NHS staff in Scotland have been offered a 9% pay rise, spread across three years.

The offer, to staff like nurses and midwives who earn under £80,000 a year, is being considered by NHS unions.

Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison said she was "proud" to be offering a pay rise which "not only matches the NHS England deal, but exceeds it".

The offer would not affect doctors, dentists or senior managers. Staff consultations will run until 15 August.

Major trade unions including Unison and the bodies representing nurses and midwives welcomed the offer as "the best that could be expected in the current climate".

However, the GMB union said it would not recommend members accept the offer as it is "not a credible prescription for tackling a decade of austerity on staff".

'Significant rise'

The pay rise would be linked to changes to terms and conditions, including sickness leave policy and career progression, which will have to be agreed by December 2018.

Many staff have already been given a 3% pay rise for the current year, which was recently announced by Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP conference.

This could now be extended across three years, with 147,000 staff earning up to £80,000 receiving a minimum uplift of 9%. Workers who are not at the top of their wage band could see bigger increases, depending on where they sit in the pay scale.

Those earning above £80,000 will be given a flat-rate increase of £1,600 a year.

Image caption Health Secretary Shona Robison said the pay offer would help make the NHS an attractive employer

More than a million NHS workers in England are receiving a three-year pay deal worth 6.5% after staff voted in favour of that offer in June.

Ms Robison said she was "delighted" to be making the offer in the 70th anniversary year of the health service.

She said: "Our NHS is built on the dedication and hard work of healthcare staff up and down the country. They are our health service's beating heart, and I'm proud to be offering them this significant pay rise in recognition of the work they do caring for the people of Scotland.

"We're doing all we can to recruit new talent and retain existing staff, ensuring NHS Scotland has the right skills and experience to meet future demand and rising expectations. Today's announcement will help make our NHS an attractive employment option for many."

'A good deal'

The pay proposal will now be put to staff in a consultation running from 2 July to 15 August.

Unison Scotland, which represents 60,000 NHS workers, said the deal was "not perfect", but would "put money in our members' pockets now".

They said the offer on the table was "the best that can be achieved through negotiation", and recommended staff accept it.

Image copyright Science Photo Library

This was echoed by Royal College of Nursing Scotland director Theresa Fyffe, who said: "This is the largest pay rise offered to nurses in 10 years, and we believe it is the best deal that can be achieved through negotiation at this time.

"It is now time for members to make up their own minds on whether to accept or reject it."

Royal College of Midwives Scotland negotiator Emma Currer said the offer would see staff get "a real increase in their pay after years of pay freezes and stagnation".

She added: "This is something the RCM and other unions have been fighting for. This is a good deal and one that we believe is the best that can be achieved in the current economic climate. However, we also see this as the starting point for better pay for NHS staff, not the end point."

'Not good enough'

However, the GMB union said it would not be recommending members accept the offer, saying it offered no guarantees that it would match the cost of living and would "commit staff to a programme of as yet undefined reforms to terms and conditions".

Senior organiser Drew Duffy said: "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.

"Neither should the Scottish government play diversionary politics by trying to justify this offer off the back of the real-terms pay cut for the NHS in England. That's just not good enough."

The Scottish Conservatives welcomed the offer, saying it was needed to offset tax rises in Scotland, while Labour said it was "essential" a longer-term settlement was reached.

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