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Yousaf says NHS pay deal is Scotland’s best ever but unions say it doesn’t cut it

AN NHS pay rise hailed by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf as the largest since devolution has been branded a “kick in the teeth” and “deeply insulting” by unions.

Health workers have been offered a flat pay uplift of £2205 – backdated to April – with the offer coming after talks that stretched into the early hours of Friday, according to the Scottish Government.

The offer would mean the lowest paid staff would see their pay increase by more than 11%.

But while Yousaf heralded the offer as the largest since devolution, some unions have already indicated their opposition to it.

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“We welcome additional support for the lowest paid members of our NHS workforce, especially in a time of such high inflation,” said Alex MacKenzie, chair of the council of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

“But it is simply a kick in the teeth to come back with an offer that is actually lower than the one already rejected for a substantial number of our members.”

The Royal College of Midwives described the offer as “deeply insulting”.

The union’s director for Scotland, Jaki Lambert, said: “This is not the substantially increased offer promised by the Scottish Government and it will be very, very disappointing news for midwives across the country.

“It is designed to make them and NHS staff think they are getting something, when in reality they are getting very little.

“They and their colleagues will not be fooled by this tiny carrot that the Scottish Government is dangling in front of them.”

The Royal College of Nursing, which was seeking an offer that was 5% above inflation, said there ballot for strike action will continue.

“Yet again the Scottish Government has failed to listen to our members’ concerns for the safety of their patients,” said RCN Scotland director Colin Poolman.

“They have failed to recognise the safety critical role of all nursing staff and their essential contribution to our NHS and our nation’s health.”

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But Unison said the offer was an “improvement” that would be put to members, with Wilma Brown, the chairwoman of its health committee saying: “We are sharing the details with NHS staff right now as they will decide whether this offer is good enough.

“Unison Scotland’s Health Committee will meet on Wednesday to fully consider the detail of the offer and agree the next steps.

“Unison believe that a flat rate offer will help all staff meet at least some of the cost-of-living crisis we are all facing.

Speaking after the offer was made, Yousaf said: “I am grateful to trade union colleagues and NHS employers for constructive discussions on pay,” he said.

“This has been another exceptionally challenging year for our health service and we have a difficult winter ahead, but I am pleased that we are able to recognise the service and dedication of our healthcare and support staff with this pay offer.

“We owe NHS staff a debt of gratitude for leading us through the greatest public health crisis in recent history.

“This improved pay offer, which is the largest of its kind since devolution, reflects their hard work and will go a long way to help them through the cost of living crisis.

“We are rightly focussing the biggest increases for those who are the lowest paid, as we know the cost crisis is impacting them disproportionately.”



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