An “increased” pay offer has been put forward for NHS nurses in Scotland, as fresh negotiations are underway between the Scottish Government and health trade unions.
Details of the new pay offer are yet to be released, but the Royal College of Nursing has said an offer “in line with members’ expectations has yet to be made”.
It is understood that health trade unions, including the RCN, met with health and social care secretary Humza Yousaf and deputy first minister John Swinney to discuss nurse pay on Wednesday.
This comes after Mr Yousaf committed to put forward a “significantly improved” pay offer for NHS nurses in the country.
Speaking during a radio interview last week, he also vowed to do everything in his power to prevent industrial action.
Related articles and resources
The Scottish Government’s 5% pay rise offer for NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts for 2022-23 was rejected by health unions earlier this year.
Subsequently, Unison and the Royal College of Midwives have begun balloting its NHS staff in the country on strike action over pay.
Meanwhile, the RCN has launched a UK-wide strike ballot of NHS nurses – the first time it has done so in its history. The RCN is calling for a pay increase for nurses across the four nations which is in line with inflation plus 5%.
In a statement from the Scottish Government, a spokesperson said an “increased offer was made” during its meeting with health unions this week, and that this has “been acknowledged by all parties”.
They added that the government was “committed to continuing discussions”.
Meanwhile, a statement released by RCN Scotland claimed that “an increased offer that is in line with members expectations has yet to be made”.
Though it added that health trade unions have “agreed to maintain negotiations with the aim of reaching a satisfactory offer”.
RCN Scotland director Colin Poolman said: “It shouldn’t take the very real prospect of strike action for the Scottish Government to return to the negotiating table.
“For too long the Scottish Government has expected nursing staff to do more for less.
“Our members and our NHS are at breaking point. Fair pay is essential for ensuring safe patient care, for retaining our experienced nursing staff and for recruiting into our profession.”
He added: “Our members have made it clear that yet another pay cut is not acceptable. Our strike ballot continues and I urge every eligible member to cast their vote now.”