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Scotland’s health secretary Humza Yousaf announces “significantly” improved pay offer for nurses

Posted on October 2022 By Aaliyah Borgia

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Humza Yousaf Scotland’s health secretary expressed that he would do everything in his power to prevent industrial action, as a union strike ballot begins to get underway. Mr Yousaf announced to listeners on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland saying, “I will be doing everything in my power to prevent industrial action from taking place.”

RCM members throughout Scotland as well as Northern Ireland and Wales, have balloted on whether to take industrial action over pay. Healthcare professionals working in the NHS are on Agenda for Change contracts for a 5% pay rise for 2022-2023 which was rejected by health unions.

The Royal College of Nursing otherwise known as the (RCN) have been expressing urgency in getting a 5% pay rise and will launch its strike ballot of NHS nurses across the whole of the UK on Thursday.

The health secretary told Good Morning Scotland that he planned to resume negotiations with unions and that he hoped strike action could ultimately be avoided. Mr Yousaf said he understood why trade unions voiced concerns and were asking for a pay deal closer to what they originally wanted because of high inflation rates.

He added “I will be doing everything in my power to prevent industrial action from taking place, which includes in our next meeting with trade unions coming forward with a significantly improved pay offer for them.”

When asked whether a deal close to 10% could be given to nurses Mr Yousaf replied with “I think it’s fair to look at what we’ve offered other sectors, including local government, and say is that roughly where you want to get to or a similar package for other public sector workers.

“I’m not going to negotiate through the airwaves here with you, but I have said to the trade unions in my conversations with them already although I’m disappointed that their members have rejected I accept fully that they have a mandate from their members to reject that offer and therefore they can expect a significantly improved offer when we next sit round the table, planned for next week.”

In response to Mr Yousaf’s comments, Colin Poolman the director of RCN has said “We have been calling for a return to the negotiating table since the summer when our members rejected the Scottish government’s offer.

“Paying nursing staff fairly to recognise their safety is a critical role and political choice. Another real term pay cut will not retain and recruit the nursing workforce Scotland needs.”