The Scottish government has announced NHS nurses and midwives are to receive a 1% pay rise in April, following recommendations made by the independent body that advises on wages in the health service.
It said it will also pay an additional sum of money to lower paid workers to ensure those earning under £22,000 a year receive an increase of at least £400.
“While the independently recommended uplift is modest, it comes against the background of substantial cuts in Scotland’s budget from Westminster”
The NHS Pay Review Body recommended all UK NHS workers under the Agenda for Change pay system receive a 1% rise in wages for 2016 to 2017.
Scotland’s health secretary Shona Robison described the salary boost as “modest”, but noted it followed cuts to the country’s budget by the UK government.
“Today, I can confirm that all NHS Scotland staff will rightly receive the wage increases they were promised,” said Ms Robinson in a statement.
“While the independently recommended uplift is modest, it comes against the background of substantial cuts in Scotland’s budget from Westminster, and will continue to give NHS staff in Scotland a better deal than their counterparts south of the border,” she said.
“As well as delivering the fully consolidated pay rise for NHS staff, and guaranteeing that all employees are paid at least the living wage, we are also committed to no compulsory redundancies for NHS Scotland staff,” she added.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland associate director Norman Provan said: “We’re encouraged that the Scottish government has agreed – as it did last year – to accept the PRB’s recommendations in full.
“However, a 1% pay increase does not make up for the below-inflation pay increases which NHS staff in Scotland have received over the last few years, which means their pay has been cut in real terms,” he said.
He added: “That’s why, in our manifesto for the Scottish parliament elections in May this year, we’re calling for all Scotland’s politicians to champion better pay, terms and conditions for members of nursing teams, no matter their grade or where they work.”
However, the GMB union called for a return to free collective bargaining in the NHS, where workers have the freedom to negotiate directly with NHS employers.
Karen Leonard, GMB Scotland lead organiser for NHS said: “Those receiving the 1% offer and possibly those receiving the £400 increase per annum will, contrary to what Shona Robison says, see a drop in their take home pay.
“This has been the case over the last few years due to changes in pension contributions and national insurance payments outstripping the increase in pay,” he said.
Mr Leonard added: “GMB Scotland believes the current Pay Review Body simply endorses government pay policy.
“It is time to return to free collective bargaining in the NHS where workers have the freedom to negotiate directly with NHS employers and not only defend but increase the living standards of all NHS Scotland workers,” he said.
The Department of Health in England has also announced it will implement the 1% pay rise for NHS staff from April, which unions have described as “disappointing” and said the boost did not make up for shortfalls in NHS pay over the past few years.