Union leaders insisted that a record 5% pay increase being offered to more than 160,000 NHS workers across the country “is simply not good enough”.
Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the proposed salary increase – which could reach £2,400 a year for some frontline staff – was a “demonstration of how much we value our NHS staff who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe”. during the course of the pandemic. ”.
The deal, which would apply to nurses, paramedics, allied healthcare workers and healthcare support staff, is the biggest pay increase ever offered to NHS workers since the handover.
However, union leaders insisted that Scottish ministers needed to “go further in paying these key workers”.
Jaki Lambert, Director for Scotland at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The government payment offer to our members is simply not good enough. It’s nowhere near what midwives and maternity staff deserve or need right now.
“Our members are struggling with rising cost of living and 5% is not enough to counteract increases in inflation. If they accept this offer, they will not see any improvement in real terms in their salaries compared to last year.”
She continued: “We have asked the Scottish government for an inflation-proof salary increase so this offer will not be enough.”
Meanwhile, the GMB union said it could not recommend members to accept a deal that “does not sufficiently address rising inflation and eye-watering energy bills.”
Karen Leonard, union organizer in Scotland, said: “NHS frontline services are chronically understaffed and if we are to improve this for patients we need to recruit and retain the people necessary to deliver them, and that starts with the proper value.
“In the grip of the biggest cost-of-living crisis in 40 years, we cannot recommend that our hard-pressed members accept a deal that does not sufficiently address rising inflation and eye-watering energy bills, or a financing deal that rewards the highest paid”.
Julie Lamberth, Chair of the Board of the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, said: “This offer falls far short of our expectations of a fair-paying award.
“Our members have demonstrated their worth many times during the pandemic. They put their own health and well-being at risk day after day, month after month. They continue to do so as we move towards remobilization and recovery.”
She said they would consult with members about the offer and “whether it’s acceptable to them,” adding that “ultimately, it will be our members who have the final say on whether or not this payoff offer makes the grade.”
The proposed 5% increase is the second year in a row that the Scottish government has made a record salary offer to NHS staff – following a 4% increase last year.
The salary increase would be retroactive to 1 April 2022, with the government stating that employees could receive from £1,000 to £2,400 a year in their salary packages, depending on their role and experience.
Yousaf said: “Our NHS Agenda for Change workforce – such as nursing and midwifery staff, concierge staff and therapy staff – have long had the best pay and conditions in the UK, and with today’s offer of a 5% salary increase, we are demonstrating our commitment to ensuring it stays that way.
“It is a demonstration of how much we value our NHS team, who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe during the pandemic. ”
He added that “constructive discussions with unions and employers” had resulted in the government now “offering the biggest NHS salary increase in a year since handover”.
After an “exceptionally challenging year” for the NHS, Yousaf said he was “pleased that the Scottish Government is able to recognize the service and dedication of our healthcare and support team”.
The Secretary of Health continued: “Experienced porters will receive over £1,000 extra, while a healthcare support worker will receive over £1,200 extra. Experienced nurses will see their salary increase by over £1,600 and an experienced nurse practitioner will receive almost £2,400 more.
“We are actually taking advantage of the fact that the NHS Scotland team is the highest paid of the four nations – the UK government would need to offer salary increases of 6% to 14% for the frontline staff of the NHS England Agenda for Change to track salary levels in Scotland.”