Even though some unions are still at odds over the agreement from last year, the Scottish government has made a new pay offer for NHS employees for this year.
Among the NHS employees who have been offered a one-time payment and an average salary increase of 60.5 percent are nurses, midwives, and paramedics.
Unite and Unison have already agreed to the 2022 offer, which is worth an average of about 7.5 percent.
However, there is still a disagreement with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) of Scotland.
Despite having a mandate to strike, the RCN, Royal College of Midwives (RCM), and GMB decided to postpone it while talks on the 2023 offer were ongoing.
According to the Scottish government, the new offer would make the NHS employees in Scotland the highest paid in the UK.
The offer has been accepted, and Unison intends to consult its members starting the following week.
According to the Scottish government, an additional £568 million will be included in the offer made to the 160,000 employees of NHS Scotland who are employed under contracts for the Agenda for Change in 2023–2024.
Staff up to Band 8a will experience an increase of at least 6%.
All employees will also receive a one-time payment that ranges from £387 to £939 depending on banding.
Examples of pay increases spread over two years include:.
- More than £3,750 more is paid to experienced porters (band 2), or 19% more.
- More than £4,000 more is paid to skilled healthcare support staff (band 4). (15 %).
- Experienced paramedics (band 6) earn more than £5,360 more on average (13.2%).
- Advanced practice registered nurses with experience (band 7) receive more than £5,900 more (12 p.c.).
According to the official pay offer, a £1 billion investment over two years will result in pay increases for staff of between 5 and 19 percent, or between £3,753 and £6,506 in cash.
Humza Yousaf, the secretary of health, claimed that every effort had been made to secure an offer.
"Over the two years of this £1 billion of increased investment in NHS Agenda for Change, a newly qualified nurse would see their pay increase by 15 point eight percent, and experienced nurses at the top of band five would see a pay improvement of over £4,700," he claimed.
"This guarantees that NHS Agenda for Change employees in Scotland are paid the highest salaries of any employees in the UK. In fact, for NHS England to catch up to Scotland in 2023–2024, the UK government would need to offer increases of more than 14% at the top of band 5, more than 13% at the top of band 6, and more than 12% at the top of band 7.
"We have made challenging choices to find this money within the health budget because we recognize that our staff is the very foundation of the NHS and we are committed to supporting them, especially during a cost of living crisis. I appreciate the continued work being done at the table and the fact that the trade unions will now present this to their members. ".
According to Wilma Brown of Unison's health committee, "NHS employees were rightfully irate that the government took so long to resolve their pay claim from last year. Securing the promise not to postpone discussions for the upcoming pay year was crucial for this reason.
"It's encouraging to see that the government has taken our suggestions into account and has already made a proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, which is well in advance of the official start of the calendar year. The union will start talking to NHS employees as soon as possible. " .
"This is a credible pay offer for NHS workers, and needs serious consideration," said Matt McLaughlin, the union's head of health. The decision to accept is, as always, up to the health members of Unison.
The best paid NHS employees in the UK are already located in Scotland. If the offer is accepted, it will result in a one-time payment of £387 and at least a 6 point 5 percent increase in pay scales for most employees.
The majority of registered nurses will receive pay increases of over 14% over the course of the next two years, and the lowest paid NHS employees will see increases of nearly 20%. ".
The board of RCN Scotland said it would carefully consider the offer.
"It was the right decision to see these negotiations through to the end," said the organization's director Colin Poolman. "Negotiations are the preferable way to resolve disputes. The Scottish government returned to the negotiating table as a result of the very strong strike mandate from RCN members in Scotland.
"We now have a new proposal up for consideration, and as in the past, the RCN members will decide what happens next. Members of the RCN Scotland board examine the offer in-depth to start the process. " .
It may not come as a surprise that Unison has accepted this new pay offer. They represent a higher percentage of lower paid NHS employees than any other healthcare workers union, and they withdrew the threat of any strike action toward the end of last year. However, they will continue to consult members before making the decision.
A strike authorization still exists for the Royal College of Nursing and two other unions. The RCN has responded to this offer in a cooler manner. It says that decision will be made by the members. Strikes are currently suspended, though.
In exchange for a one-time extra payment and a review of working hours, this agreement would increase pay for charge nurses by 60.5 percent. .
Doctors' and dentists' salaries, which are negotiated at UK level, are also exempt from it. The possibility of a strike action will also be discussed by junior doctors soon.