The majority of nurses and other NHS staff in Scotland will receive a 3% pay rise this year as a stop-gap measure while negotiations continue on a longer term offer, the government has announced.
The pay deal, for staff on the Agenda for Change contract, was announced on Saturday and came just a day after unions in England said members had voted in favour of a three year package.
“All staff working under NHS Agenda for Change and earning up to 80,000 pounds, will get an immediate 3% pay rise”
Under the Scottish deal, health service staff currently earning up to £80,000 will receive at least a 3% uplift, and those earning £80,000 and over will receive a flat rate increase of £1,600.
Staff not at the top of their pay bands will also receive any incremental progression they are due, the government confirmed.
For staff paid weekly, the pay uplift will be paid week beginning 2 July 2018. For those paid monthly, the uplift will be made in end July salaries.
The payments will be backdated to 1 April 2018 “as quickly as possible”, according to a statement from the government.
The annual uplift is a “payment on account of progress made in negotiations so far” on a longer term deal, said ministers.
They added that negotiations between the Scottish government, employers and unions on pay, terms and conditions “continue towards a three year pay deal”.
The deal in England includes a 6.5% pay rise for almost all nurses and other NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts, and breaks years of pay freezes and more recently the 1% cap on pay rises.
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Unveiled in March, it will see staff get 3% for 2018, 1.7% and a 1.1% lump sum in April 2019, and 1.7% from April 2020. Staff will now get the money in their July pay packets, backdated from April.
Compared to equivalent staff in NHS England, the Scottish government claimed that healthcare assistants at the top of band 3 in Scotland would be over £600 better off this year.
In addition, it argued that auxiliary nurses with a year’s experience in band 4 would be over £800 better off, nurses with five years’ experience in band 5 would be over £400 better off and advanced nurse practitioners in the middle of band 7 would be over £250 better off.
RCN Congress 2016
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “We know that for NHS staff, and all those who work in our public services, the last few years of pay restraint have been tough.
“We’re currently in negotiations to agree a three year pay deal for NHS staff, in which we aim to not just match but exceed the deal agreed in England,” she said. “I hope these talks reach a positive conclusion soon.
“But I don’t want those working so hard in the NHS to have to wait for that agreement to get a pay rise this year. So I can announce today that we will make a payment on account as negotiations continue,” she said.
“All staff working under NHS Agenda for Change and earning up to 80,000 pounds, will get an immediate 3% pay rise and it will be in their pay packets next month,” she added.
James O’Connell, Unite regional officer, said: “We acknowledge the statement from the first minister and welcome the reference she makes to our hard working NHS staff and the requirement to receive an increase in wages immediately.
“Our focus, however, remains on concluding an agreement which provides members with certainty and stability over the next three years,” he said.
“It is disappointing that we were unable to take this offer to our members for consideration prior to the statement by the first minister,” he said. ”Unite believes agreement on pay should come from negotiations as part of the partnership agreement, which is being undermined, not a big reveal at the SNP’s annual conference.
“Once negotiations have been concluded, which we expect to be over the coming weeks, we will conduct a full consultation with our members on the final offer,” said Mr O’Connell.
Emma Currer, lead pay negotiator for the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland, said: “This is a restatement of something the Scottish government promised some time ago.
“Our midwife and maternity support worker members will certainly be appreciative of the extra money in their pockets,” she said.
“However, this is payment on account and the RCM and other unions will continue in negotiations with the government to get the best deal for NHS staff,” she added.