NHS Scotland industrial action suspended after fresh pay offer made 

Industrial work has been suspended by NHS workers after a new payment was offered.

It comes after “extensive” talks involving First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Health Minister Hamza Yusuf, NHS Scotland and trade unions.

The new offer will be made to Unite members working in Scotland’s health service.

Staff of the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) were due to take an industrial strike on Thursday.

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However, Unite confirmed that the action has been put on hold while the new proposal is being considered.

An advisory ballot will be held for all NHS workers who are members of Unite, with the union aiming to complete voting by 12 December.

Unite indicated that the new offer includes a pay increase deal, as well as a commitment to reduce the workweek for employees from 37.5 hours to 36 hours without losing pay.

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James O’Connell, Unite’s chief negotiator for NHS Scotland, welcomed the offer after the talks.

“Unite believes that an improved offer deserves to be considered by our members across the NHS,” he said.

“The members will vote on this offer and they have to decide if the offer meets their expectations.

“We appreciate the work on all sides that has gone into realizing this new offer and appreciate the first minister’s direct involvement in helping to have an increased offer that can be put forward for our members to consider.”

SAS Regional Officer Pat McIlfogh added: “The suspension of our non-strike action within SAS is being done in good faith to facilitate advisory voting for our members on the improved Scottish Government offer.

“We are waiting for the result of the poll result for our next step.”

Hamza Yusuf said this was the Scottish government’s “best and last” payment offer.

“We have engaged tirelessly with trade union representatives over recent weeks, sparing no effort to come up with a proposition that responds to key concerns of employees across the service,” he said.

“This best and last offer of wages in excess of half a billion pounds underscores our commitment to supporting our fantastic NHS team.

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“The newly qualified nurse will see a pay increase of 8.7% and experienced nurses will receive increases of between £2,450 and £2,751.”

The Minister of Health clarified that if the agreement is reached, the wage increase will be retroactive to April.

“We are making this offer at a time when the Scottish government is facing extraordinary financial challenges,” Youssef said.

“We put in the best possible offer to get money into the pockets of our hard working staff and to avoid industrial work in a winter which would already be very difficult.

If the offer is approved, this pay increase would also be retroactive to April.

Finally, I would like to urge the UK government to return to the negotiating table with the unions.

This compromise has been shaped by the constructive approach of the unions and I hope it will be supported by its members.


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