Tackling Low Pay across our NHS

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2017 Health Care Service Group Conference
12 December 2016

This Conference congratulates UNISON Scotland in their outstanding success in tackling the scourge of low pay in the health service. From October 1st 2016 all staff employed in NHS Scotland on Agenda for Change Band One had their posts reviewed and all were offered Band Two posts with only very minor adjustments to their roles. This resulted in over 97% of staff on Band One transferring to Band Two with the exceptions being those staff who due to working very limited hours would have lost out via social security entitlements.

This pay increase now means that the lowest paid full time member of staff in NHS Scotland is in receipt of a salary £3,000 more than the equivalent member of staff in the NHS elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

UNISON Scotland led the way in tackling low pay in the NHS by getting rid of the lowest pay points and have now extended that by, to all intents and purposes, abolishing Pay Band One in NHS Scotland.

A £3,000 pay increase makes a real difference in the lives of our hard working, dedicated members who have committed their working lives to public services, and are there for people when they are at their most vulnerable.

UNISON Scotland achieved this major pay rise at the same as maintaining its no compulsory redundancy agreement and a lifetime Organisational Change agreement at real time levels without the need for one days industrial action. It was achieved by the day to day hard work of UNISON lay activists, UNISON officers and UNISON members. It was done by recruiting and actively organising across the service so that employers were aware that UNISON were the voice of their staff and that continued unfair treatment of those staff that the NHS relied on would be met by a united response.

UNISON echo the remarks of the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health at UNISON’s Scottish Nursing Conference that “No-one should be in any doubt that UNISON were the driving force behind this agreement.”

This Conference is fully aware that the negotiating priorities for each of the four countries in the United Kingdom is a matter for the Health Committees of those countries, but we call on the Service Group Executive to work with the Scottish Health Committee in ensuring that all parts of UNISON can benefit from the strategies adopted in Scotland and that tackling low pay should be seen as the Service Group Executive’s number one priority in future pay discussions.