Nurses in Scotland to get 4% pay rise amid calls for further talks

Increase ‘without further negotiation’ comes despite rejection of deal by two nursing unions
Members of RCN and GMB reject Scottish government's 4% pay offer

Scottish Government presses ahead with increase ‘without further negotiation’, despite rejection of proposed deal by GMB and RCN members

A 4% pay rise for nurses in Scotland is to go ahead despite the offer being rejected by two nursing unions
Picture: iStock

A 4% pay rise for nurses in Scotland is to go ahead despite the offer being rejected by two nursing unions, whose members say they want a fairer deal.

The Scottish Government said the salary increase for staff on Agenda for Change (AfC) bands 1-7 would come into effect immediately and be backdated to 1 December 2020, with payments showing up in pay packets ‘this summer’. The announcement was met with disappointment from the RCN which, along with the GMB, rejected the proposal. Unison members voted to accept it.

Unions call for further talks to deliver fair pay

RCN Scotland board chair Julie Lamberth said: ‘Our members rejected this offer. We are disappointed that the Scottish Government has taken the decision to implement it without further discussion.

‘The government must do more to value nursing staff – the biggest part of the NHS workforce. We continue our call for the government to agree to further negotiations and to deliver fair pay for nursing.’

The rise follows a one-off £500 bonus for nursing and other health and social care staff in Scotland, in recognition of their response to COVID-19.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was delighted that the pay proposal had been accepted by unions ‘representing a majority of NHS staff’.

‘This has been an exceptionally challenging year for our health service and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has been able to recognise the service and dedication of our healthcare staff,’ she said.

Pay offer: how GMB, RCN and Unison members in Scotland voted

Picture: iStock
  • GMB– 82% of participating members voted to reject the 4% proposal
  • RCN – 68% rejected the offer
  • Unison – 84% voted to accept the offer

NHS nurses ‘will make a forceful stand for a significant increase’

Speaking after the member ballots, RCN acting general secretary Pat Cullen said the results send a clear message to prime minister Boris Johnson, whose government has proposed a 1% pay rise for NHS staff on AfC contracts in England. The government says it is awaiting the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body, which advises ministers on pay, before making a final decision.

The RCN is continuing to campaign for a one-year pay rise of 12.5% for UK nurses on AfC contacts.

‘This summer, when the NHS pay announcement comes, Mr Johnson can expect nursing staff to make a forceful stand for a significant pay increase. Nurses are the biggest part of the health and care workforce and he must think carefully before taking further steps on pay,’ Ms Cullen said.

Further information

Pay rise for NHS workers – Scottish Government

In other news