A pay rise of at least four per cent is to be offered to more than 154,000 NHS Scotland staff in a deal from the Scottish Government.
The increase will benefit employees with contracts under the Agenda for Change system, which would also give staff on the lowest pay point a 5.4 per cent increase.
How much will wages increase?
The four per cent pay increase will see the average pay of a frontline NHS nurse rise by more than £1,200 per year.
By comparison, the Westminster government has only offered NHS staff in England a one per cent pay rise, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson stating this is as much as the government could afford during the “tough times” of the pandemic.
The Royal College of Nursing estimates that this would only increase nurses’ pay by £3.50 per week.
The SNP-controlled administration in Edinburgh has said it wants to recognise the service and dedication of staff during the past year, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying that one per cent is not enough.
In a tweet, she said: “Our NHS staff deserve more than applause and 1% is not enough.
“@scotgov is offering a 4% pay rise, which would deliver guaranteed minimum increase of £1000 for those earning less than £25,000 & 5.4% increase for staff on lowest pay band… and all backdated to December 2020.”
Which bands will benefit from the pay rise?
NHS staff in pay bands one to seven will be offered at least a four per cent rise in pay compared with 2020/21, backdated to December, with workers earning less than £25,000 in 2020/21 guaranteed a minimum increase of more than £1,000 in 2021/22.
This will include paramedics, nurses, as well as support domestic, healthcare support staff, porters and other frontline health workers.
The pay rise comes in addition to a £500 payment to health and social care workers thanking them for their efforts throughout the pandemic.
When is the pay rise due?
The pay rise is due on 1 April, but in Scotland it will be backdated to December in recognition of an “exceptional year of significant pressure”.
The Scottish Government says the deal, if accepted, will be the “most generous National Health Service pay uplift anywhere in the UK”.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman added in a statement: “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 a frontline NHS nurse rise by over £1,200 a year.
“This deal also includes support staff such as domestic staff, porters and healthcare support workers, the backbone of our services, who would see pay rises of over £1,000 – uplifts of between 4%-5.4%.
“The uplift will be backdated from December 1 2020, rather than the usual April 1 2021, meaning all those covered by the deal will receive an extra benefit.
“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.”
Colin Poolman, Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) chairman and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland senior officer, described the timescale for negotiations as “tight as a result of the forthcoming election but we have now received an offer for a one-year pay deal”.
Pressure for a pay increase in England
Boris Johnson is now facing pressure to increase the proposed one per cent pay rise for NHS staff in England following the announcement from the Scottish Government.
A union has said the Westminster Government should be “shamed into following the Scottish example”.
Head of health at Unison 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.”