Thousands of Unite members prepared to strike for a better deal

Unite the union has confirmed today (12 August)  that its NHS membership has rejected the Scottish Government’s 5 per cent pay offer, and voted to take strike action in a consultative ballot.

By 89 per cent, thousands of Unite members who work in every pay band across the entire NHS voted to reject the current pay offer. 77 per cent also indicated that they would be prepared to take industrial action up to and including strike for a better wage deal from the Scottish Government.

Unite has repeatedly stated that the current 5 per cent pay offer was unacceptable to its NHS membership as it represents a significant real-terms pay cut when the broader cost of living has hit a forty-year high of 11.8 per cent.

We will now prepare our Industrial Action process over the next couple of weeks. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members in NHS Scotland have rejected the current pay offer based one simple truth which is that it represents a substantial real terms pay cut. Thousands of health service workers have indicated that they are prepared to take action in order to strike a better deal from the Scottish Government.  Unite will now move to an industrial action ballot, and our members will have the full support of their union in the fight to secure better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Unite is also drawing attention to the Scottish Government underspend of £650m announced in June 2022 which could be used to fund an improved NHS wage offer. The underspend is being carried over through the Scotland Reserve but it is to be exclusively allocated to support key priorities outside of the public sector for 2022-23.

James O’Connell, Unite regional officer, said: “The mandate to move to an industrial action ballot from our NHS Scotland members is emphatic. These hard working and courageous workers really deserve far more from the Scottish Government. Instead, they are being forced into a position whereby the only way they are going to get a decent pay rise is through strike action. This situation is exclusively down to the Scottish Government because they are also hoarding a £650m underspend. Yet for some reason they deem our brave NHS workers unworthy of anything from this treasure chest.”

Unite’s NHS Scotland members join other groups of public sector workers in rejecting various pay offers including those in local government and at Marine Scotland.