Nurses’ strikes paused in Scotland after fresh proposal

Talks late last week could lead to improved offer including one-off payment and accelerated pay deal next year
Striking nurses in December

Talks late last week could lead to improved offer including one-off payment and accelerated pay deal next year

Striking nurses in December
Striking nurses in December Picture: John Houlihan

Nurses’ strikes in Scotland have been paused again after fresh talks over pay and working conditions.

The RCN and other health unions met with the Scottish Government at the end of last week to consider a road map to resolving the dispute.

The Scottish Government put forward a proposal to accelerate the 2023-24 pay offer, a one-off payment equivalent to three months’ value between the 2022-23 and 2023-24 agreed pay rates, and a commitment to match any NHS pay increase in England next year if it is higher than the rate agreed in Scotland.

The government also agreed to a review of Agenda for Change, the pay framework a majority of NHS staff are on. But it reiterated its previous stance that there was no more money for an NHS pay rise this year.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said that while members in Scotland were being listened to ‘we will take strike action if the proposals being outlined do not deliver a significant improvement by the end of February’.

Colin Poolman
Colin Poolman

RCN Scotland director Colin Poolman said: ‘You have said “enough is enough”, and that was before the current pressures trying to care for patients and keep services running.

RCN Scotland committed to keep negotiating after ‘positive discussions’

‘We know it is frustrating that things are not moving more quickly, but things are moving. While the Scottish Government repeated their assertion that there is no more money for NHS pay in 2022-23, it was my strong mandate from you that led to the positive discussions this week and the commitment to keep negotiating.’

The fresh negotiations come ahead of a third round of nurses’ strikes in England due this week, with nurses walking out for two consecutive days on 18 and 19 January.

Strikes in Scotland have so far been avoided after the government offered a revised pay offer of around 8%. But RCN members overwhelmingly rejected the offer in December, putting strike action back on the table.

In Wales, the RCN has confirmed that the next strike dates are being set after talks between the Welsh Government and unions failed to reach an agreement last week.

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