NHS Scotland awards three-year pay deal to 60,000 staff

NHS Scotland

The NHS in Scotland has agreed a three-year pay deal for 60,000 employees who are members of the trade union Unison.

Unison members voted 94% in favour of the new agreement, which is applicable for direct employees and NHS Scotland contractor staff, during a four-week online ballot.

Matt McLaughlin, head of health at Unison Scotland, said: “[The vote is] a good result for Unison members and I am happy that across Scotland we reached out to and engaged with the vast majority of our members. Their decision is a ringing endorsement of the offer.”

The deal, which follows the pay agreement for NHS England employees, will see all NHS Scotland staff who earn less than £80,000 a year receive a 3% pay rise, backdated to 1 April 2018. Employees who earn more than £80,000 will instead receive a payment of £1,600.

In addition, the top of all NHS Scotland’s pay scales will rise by 9% over the course of the three-year deal, or by £1,600 a year for pay bands above £80,000. The deal also includes larger increments and faster progression for employees who are not yet at the top of their pay band; this could equate to pay increases of between 11.3% and 27.7%, and overlaps between pay bands are to be removed to ensure that promotions come with relevant pay rises. This is to help avoid equal pay challenges.

The pay deal will further improve starting salaries to help NHS Scotland attract and retain staff.

Jeane Freeman, health secretary, said: “Scotland’s NHS is founded on the hard work and dedication of its staff. This agreement is a recognition of that hard work. I’m delighted that NHS ‘Agenda for Change’ staff have voted to accept our offer of a pay rise of at least 9% over the next three years. This rise, which is linked to a commitment to reform some terms and conditions, will be up to 27% for some staff. That is the highest health uplift in the UK.

“This pay rise can help recruitment and retention and ensure that our NHS remains an attractive employment option for many.”

According to the Scottish government, the pay deal will benefit 147,000 employees in total, including those who work as nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals.

Thomas Waterson, health committee chair at Unison Scotland, said: “I am pleased to announce that 94% of Unison members have voted to accept a pay deal which will put an additional £400 million into NHS [employees’] pay packets in Scotland. This deal delivers real increases of between 3% and 27% for NHS [staff] in Scotland.”