Westminster has again been shown up by Holyrood over NHS pay

Scottish offer shows what the prime minister and chancellor could be doing

Commenting on the latest pay offer to health workers from the Scottish government covering the year ahead starting in April, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said today (Friday):

“Once again, Holyrood has shown Westminster up. Genuine pay talks with unions can help prevent damaging NHS disputes.

“Dialogue has led to decent wage offers in Scotland and Wales. Rishi Sunak should take heed and give it a go too.

“Scottish ministers clearly value health workers and know better pay can help improve staffing levels. This is in stark contrast to the Westminster government’s shoddy treatment of NHS employees.

“Health workers in Scotland had a bigger pay rise this year, putting a stop to the threat of strikes. Now they’re set to get a decent April wage increase, and on time too.

“Staff across the NHS in England are right to feel upset and angry at the prime minister’s abject failure to resolve the escalating dispute.

“Rishi Sunak has no plan to end the strikes and looks content to inflict months of needless disruption on the public.

“He expects health workers to wait until the NHS pay review body makes its recommendation. But that won’t be until May at the earliest. And it’ll do nothing to solve the current dispute.

“But the solution is in plain sight. The prime minister must open the door of Number 10 and invite the unions in for pay talks.

“Everyone could go back to work if the Prime Minister followed Holyrood’s example and committed to boosting NHS pay both this year and next. It really is that simple.”

Notes to editors:
– If accepted, the Scottish government’s pay offer would see most NHS workers receive pay increases of more than 8% in 2023/24.  That would mean that over the two years (2022/23 and 2023/24) nurses in Scotland will have got a pay rise of more than 14% and the lowest paid NHS workers an increase of close to 20%.
– UNISON has re-balloted ambulance workers at five services in England (South East Coast, South Central, East of England, West Midlands and East Midlands) and the Welsh Ambulance Service. In addition, NHS staff at NHS Blood and Transplant, London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool Women’s Hospital and the North West-based Bridgewater Community Trust have also been asked to vote again to strike over pay and staffing. The results of those ballots are due to be published later today.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union and the largest union in the NHS and in the ambulance sector, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
nthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk