Scotland’s health unions angry and disappointed over 1% pay deal

Health unions claim this uplift was not agreed upon and have accused the Government of “side-stepping” pay negotiations. 

James McKay
3 March 2021
NHS Scotland

NHS workers in Scotland will receive a 1% uplift backdated to December.

Scotland’s health trade unions say they are angry and disappointed at last weekend’s interim pay announcement.


Last week, allegedly without prior notice or warning to the health trade unions, the Scottish Government awarded NHS workers a 1% pay rise backdated to December 2020.

This followed an announcement last year of a £500 one-off bonus for all health and social care workers due to their “extraordinary service” during the pandemic. 

However, health unions claim this uplift was not agreed upon and have accused the Government of “side-stepping” pay negotiations.

A letter to Cabinet Secretary Jeane Freeman unions claim the announcement will have a negative impact on the long-standing positive partnership between NHS Scotland and the trade unions representing staff on Agenda for Change contracts.


It states that there is a “significant breakdown in the trust and respect between the Scottish Government and the health trade unions.”

The letter goes on to call for “immediate action” and “meaningful pay negotiations”.

Colin Poolman, Chair of STAC and Royal College of Nursing Scotland Senior Officer said: “For months now we’ve been told that that the Scottish Government will do its best to give NHS staff the pay increase they deserve.

“Last week’s announcement that NHS staff on Agenda for Change will have to wait until the summer for negotiations to commence is unacceptable, even more so when you consider the efforts and sacrifices that they have made over the past year to keep the country safe.”


Willie Duffy, Staffside Secretary of STAC and Unison Regional Organiser adds; “We have worked hard to foster a positive relationship with government, one which we thought was built on mutual trust for the benefit of patients and NHS staff. The process that led to last week’s announcement has raised serious questions about the future of this relationship.

“We are requesting the decision to delay the beginning of negotiations until the summer be reviewed immediately. If the Scottish Government is not in a position to do this, then the Cabinet Secretary needs to advise the trade unions now so we can consult our members on the next steps.”

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