Unite the union can today (4 November) confirm that NHS members have formally rejected the latest pay offer made by NHS Scotland. Unite members across the NHS including in estates, ambulance service, medical equipment management and theatre roles recorded a 74 per cent vote to reject the offer from the Scottish government. Unite can also confirm that the same members have voted for strike action following the conclusion of the legal industrial action ballot (see notes to editors).

Unite said that the offer, which was put to members last week, ‘didn’t go far enough’ to reward all workers fairly and was therefore overwhelmingly rejected. Whilst the principle of a flat rate offer was something that Unite considered, further analysis found that some workers would be considerably worse off following the ‘improved’ offer.

As the cost of living continues to worsen, with RPI reaching a 40 year high of 12.6 per cent, Unite members have made it abundantly clear that they are prepared to take industrial action unless the Scottish government significantly improves the offer.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “This dispute has escalated as a direct result of the Scottish government failing to dig deep enough to make sure these vital workers are paid a wage that reflects the work they do and the value they bring to our health service. We were all indebted to these workers during the pandemic yet now they are being denied a pay increase that would help them through the worst cost of living crisis in decades.”

Unite Industrial Officer James O’Connell said: “We said that the ‘new’ offer was simply not good enough when it was tabled and it is still not enough today. Our members have made their anger clear by overwhelmingly rejecting this offer and are now willing to take strike action. It surely has not gone unnoticed that the NHS is in crisis. It will be these same workers that will be required to step in to save it, but the procrastination by the Scottish government to make a realistic and fair offer is lowering morale and angering our members.
“John Swinney has recently said that the Scottish government ‘have nowhere else to go’ to improve the pay offer. If that is John Swinney’s position, then he needs to prepare for unprecedented strikes in the NHS. I would suggest that the Scottish government look again at their sums because our members are determined and united and will fight relentlessly for a decent pay rise across the board for all workers in the NHS. Our members have nothing to lose and everything to gain.” 


Notes to Editors:

Boards that industrial action mandate has been met for targeted action: 

  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • NHS Ayrshire & Arran
  • NHS Golden Jubilee
  • NHS Fife
  • NHS Highland
  • NHS Tayside