A new pay offer for NHS staff has been made by the Scottish government for the coming year.
Nurses, midwives and paramedics are among the health staff who will see their wages rise from 1 April, with Unison welcoming the offer. Its members will vote on whether to accept the deal next week.
The pay offer is for workers on the Agenda for Change pay scale and will see an average rise of 6.5% for most staff, plus a one-off payment of between £387 and £939 depending on what band they are on.
As part of the deal, those on band one - the lowest - will see their pay go up to £23,240 in 2023/24, an increase of 7.14%. They will win a one-off payment of £387. Meanwhile, those on the highest part of band nine will see their pay go up by 3.33% next financial year.
Matt McLaughlin, Unison Scotland’s head of health, said: “This is a credible pay offer for NHS workers, and needs serious consideration.”
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the deal meant these workers were “by far and away the best paid anywhere in the UK”.
He said: “We have taken difficult decisions to find this money within the health budget because we know that our staff are the very backbone of the NHS and we are committed to supporting them, particularly during a cost-of-living crisis.”
Over the past two years the lowest paid will have seen their pay packets go up by 19.26%, while the best paid will have seen it go up by just 5.4%. The pay rise means paramedics in band six will earn over £4,000 more than 2021/22, porters on band two more than £3,750, and nurse practitioners more than £5,900 extra.
Mr McLaughlin added: “NHS staff in Scotland are already the best paid in the UK. If the offer is accepted, it’ll provide a one-off payment of £387 plus at least 6.5% built into the pay scales for the majority of staff.
“This means that over two years Unison will have secured a pay rise of over 14% for most registered nurses and almost 20% for the lowest paid in the NHS.”
Last November, Unison members had voted to accept the Scottish government’s deal on NHS wages for the current year ending in March, with the deal including a commitment to complete pay negotiations ahead of the beginning of the 2023/24 financial year.
Wilma Brown, chairwoman of Unison’s Scottish health committee said: “It’s good to see that the government has listened and come forward with an offer for next year, a good few weeks ahead of 1 April. The union will begin its consultation with NHS members as soon as possible.”
The union’s health committee is to meet on Monday (20 February) to discuss the offer, and on Wednesday (22 February) Unison plans to open a digital consultative ballot to ask its members if the deal should be accepted.
The Royal College of Nursing Scotland had earlier this year paused planned strike action, and on Friday announced it would consult members.
Colin Poolman, RCN Scotland director, said that “negotiations are the preferable way to resolve disputes so it was the correct decision to see these negotiations through to their conclusion”.
“We now have a new offer for consideration and, as has been the case before, it is RCN members who will make the decision about what happens next,” he said. That process begins with RCN Scotland Board members looking at the offer in detail.”