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Union ballots open as nurses in Scotland vote on proposed 4% pay deal

RCN Scotland and GMB urge NHS staff to reject Scottish Government offer

RCN Scotland and GMB urge NHS staff to reject Scottish Government offer

Nurses and other NHS staff in Scotland will have their say on the proposed 4% pay rise for workers on Agenda for Change contracts as union ballots open.

RCN Scotlands ballot opened on 16 April, with the college urging its members to reject the Scottish Governments proposal and hold out for a higher offer.

RCN Scotland and GMB urge NHS staff to reject Scottish Government offer

Nurses in Scotland will have their say on the proposed 4% pay rise for workers on Agenda for Change contracts as union ballots open
Picture: iStock

Nurses and other NHS staff in Scotland will have their say on the proposed 4% pay rise for workers on Agenda for Change contracts as union ballots open.

RCN Scotland’s ballot opened on 16 April, with the college urging its members to reject the Scottish Government’s proposal and hold out for a higher offer.

RCN Scotland campaigning for 12.5% pay increase for nurses

The college, which is campaigning for a 12.5% pay increase for nurses, joins the GMB union in advising against the 4% deal.

Unison has advised NHS staff to accept the offer, with Unite deciding not to direct its members.

RCN Scotland board chair Julie Lamberth said: ‘The RCN is campaigning for fair pay that recognises our contribution, supports retention and recruitment, and compensates for the failure of salaries to keep up with the cost of living over the past ten years.

RCN Scotland board chair Julie Lamberth
Julie Lamberth
Picture: John Houlihan

‘The Scottish Government’s pay offer does not go far enough and we are recommending our members vote to reject it.’

The RCN ballot is open until 5 May in parallel with the GMB and Unison vote. Unite’s ballot, sent to members, closes on 7 May and the unions will discuss all the results on 12 May.

Potential parliamentary debate on any proposed pay rise under 2.1%

The Scottish Government’s 4% pay offer is more than the UK government recommendation that NHS staff receive a 1% pay rise.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party has brought forward a new bill to try and force a government debate and vote on any proposed pay rise under 2.1%. The NHS Pay Award (Report) Bill was introduced for its first reading in the House of Commons by Labour MP for Swansea East Carolyn Harris on 14 April.

Ms Harris said a 2.1% pay rise for NHS staff had been budgeted in the NHS Long Term Plan. She said that if NHS staff only received a 1% pay rise they would be facing a real-terms pay cut as inflation is forecast to reach 1.7% this year. The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that inflation will rise to between 1.5% and 1.8% in 2021-22.

The bill passed its first reading by 222 votes to zero. A date for the bill’s second reading is yet to be confirmed.


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