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RCN members reject Scottish 4% pay offer

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RCN and GMB in Scotland voted today to reject the pay offer of at least 4% offered by the Scottish Government.

The college said 68.5% of its Scottish members who responded to the consultation rejected the proposed 2020/21 pay deal for NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts in Scotland. Meanwhile, 82% of participating GMB members rejected the 4% proposal.

RCN chief executive Pat Cullen said the rejection of the 4% pay uplift shows the ‘strength of feeling across the nursing profession’ – and urged Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to ‘listen’ to the message from the nursing community.

This comes after the RCN and GMB Scotland both urged their members in April to reject the proposed pay rise, instead pushing for a 12.5% and 15% wage boost respectively.

However, earlier today, 84% of Unison members voted to accept the pay offer and called for it to be implemented ‘as soon as possible’.

The Scottish Government has said the pay offer would give more than 154,000 staff in Scotland at Agenda for Change bands 1 to 7 at least a 4% pay boost – including nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals, as well as non-clinical staff such as porters.

Staff on the lowest pay point would get a 5.4% pay rise, meaning those earning under £25,000 would get a minimum increase of £1,000. Those on the highest pay points would receive an extra £800. On average, a frontline nurse will receive an extra £1,200 a year.

Pay deals are usually effective from April, but the Scottish Government said the 2021/22 settlement will be backdated to December 2020 after ‘an exceptional year of significant pressure for staff’.

Ms Cullen also said the results show that ‘Boris Johnson cannot expect plain sailing ahead’ when England’s own pay announcement comes, expected this summer.

The UK Government drew backlash from nurses after recommending a 1% pay rise for NHS workers in England. But nurses will have to wait until the NHS Pay Review Body, which advises the government on NHS pay, makes its own recommendations around May before ministers make the final decision.

Ms Cullen continued: ‘With tens of thousands of vacancies jeopardising safe care, a significant pay rise will value their skills and keep more people in the profession as a key part of the pandemic recovery. The Treasury can afford it. It is patients who cannot afford for politicians not to do it.’