GMB Scotland members narrowly accept NHS pay offer

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HS staff represented by one of Scotland’s health unions have accepted the latest pay offer from the Scottish Government.

GMB Scotland, which represents staff in the NHS and Scottish Ambulance Service, said its members accepted the improved pay offer by a majority of 59.7%.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has been locked in negotiations with health unions in recent months amid the threat of industrial action.

The GMB, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) suspended the announcement of strike action earlier this year to consider the new offer.

The pay offer made to 160,000 NHS staff, including nurses, midwives and paramedics, equates to an average 6.5% increase in 2023/24.

The offer also includes the commitment to modernising Agenda for Change, which is nearly 20 years old, to support workforce recruitment, sustainability and retention.

Both the RCN and the RCM are balloting their members, with the recommendation to accept the deal.

The offer is on top of the imposed pay rise already allocated for 2022/23, meaning many staff could receive a consolidated 13 to 14% pay increase over a two-year period.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, welcomed the acceptance but warned ministers to heed the warnings of the “sizeable” proportion of the union membership that voted to reject the pay offer.

He said: “Three-fifths of our membership have voted to accept this offer, removing the threat of strike action across NHS Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service this year on pay and conditions.

“Make no mistake, the strike mandates secured by our members is what pushed the Cabinet Secretary to continuously improve his proposals over the last nine months. As a result, frontline staff, and not least the lowest paid, have won significant increases to their consolidated pay and conditions.

“However, we would also warn that no-one in Government circles should be naive enough to think this puts the issue of worker value back in the box. The sizeable minority of members who voted to reject the offer illustrate the point and this sends a loud and clear message on future pay offers.

“If ministers want to seriously tackle the understaffing crisis in our health service and recruit and retain the people needed to build a recovery of our broken NHS, then the bar must continue to rise for the pay and conditions of staff in the years to come.”