The Scottish Government has put forward a “best and final” pay offer for NHS staff which would see them receive an average 7.5% uplift.
The pay offer means that staff working on Agenda for Change contracts will receive pay rises ranging from £2,205 to £2,751, depending on their pay band. It comes amid the threat of strike action by nurses and other staff.
“We are making this offer at a time of extraordinary financial challenges to the Scottish Government”
Scottish health secretary Humza Yousaf said the government had made the best offer possible in a bid “to get money into the pockets of hard-working staff and to avoid industrial action”.
The new offer was made by the Scottish Government following pay negotiations with health unions over the last few days.
The Royal College of Nursing has said it is “disappointing” that the offer still does not meet members’ expectations. However, it added that its Scotland board members would consider the offer in the coming days.
The previous offer for 2022-23 was an across-the-board £2,205 pay increase for all staff.
The new deal would see improved pay increases of between £2,450 and 2,751 for those working between Band 5 and Band 8A.
Those in other bands will still receive the previous pay offer of £2,205.
The new deal is worth an additional £515m in 2022-23, said the government.
Alongside the pay increases, the offer now includes a “package of progressive measures to promote staff and patient safety, support long-term workforce sustainability and to recognise the breadth of skills and experience of NHS Scotland staff”.
Among the measures is a review into reducing the working week to 36 hours, with no loss of pay.
Additionally there is a commitment to review the job descriptions of Band 5 roles and ensuring protected learning time for specific groups, such as staff on agreed learning and development schemes.
The Scottish Government said this pay offer would deliver “the most progressive package of terms and conditions reform in over 40 years”.
“It is right that RCN Scotland board members consider the offer in the usual way”
Mr Yousaf said: “We have engaged tirelessly with trade union representatives over recent weeks, leaving no stone unturned to reach an offer which responds to the key concerns of staff across the service.
“This best and final pay offer of over half a billion pounds underlines our commitment to supporting our fantastic NHS staff.”
He added: “We are making this offer at a time of extraordinary financial challenges to the Scottish Government.
“We have made the best offer possible to get money into the pockets of hard-working staff and to avoid industrial action, in what is already going to be an incredibly challenging winter.”
The RCN announced that its Scotland board members would, in the coming days, be considering the details of the revised pay offer.
Colin Poolman, RCN Scotland director, said: “I appreciate it may be frustrating for our members in Scotland, the majority of whom voted very strongly in favour of taking strike action.
“It was that mandate that encouraged the Scottish Government to re-open negotiations. It is right that RCN Scotland board members consider the offer in the usual way.”
Meanwhile the union Unite confirmed that it would put the new offer to its NHS members in a consultative ballot, which it said it was aiming to complete by 12 December.
James O’Connell, Unite’s lead negotiator for NHS Scotland, said: “Unite believes that the improved offer deserves to be considered by our members across the NHS.
“We will be balloting members on this offer and it is for them to decide if the offer meets their expectations.
“We appreciate the work on all sides, that has gone into achieving this new offer and recognise the direct involvement of the first minister in helping to obtain an increased offer that could be put to our members for consideration.”
Nursing Times is awaiting responses from other unions in the country, including Unison and GMB.