Act now on NHS pay to avoid winter of discontent, warns UNISON

UNISON Scotland says Health Secretary Humza Yousaf can no longer ‘look the other way on pay’ as NHS workers gear up for strike ballot.

In a letter to the Health Secretary today (Monday) UNISON warned the Scottish Government risked mirroring the disruption caused by the local government dispute if urgent action was not taken to resolve the NHS pay dispute.

UNISON, Scotland’s largest health union, is preparing to ballot more than 50,000 health members asking them to reject the Scottish Government’s 5% pay offer.

Wilma Brown, chair UNISON Scotland’s Health Committee, said: “We’ve all seen the disruption caused by the local government dispute and no one wants that to happen in the NHS. But without urgent intervention from the Scottish Government on pay, our members will be left with no choice.

“UNISON members have spoken loud and clear, with over 80% voting to take industrial action in our recent consultative ballot. Our dedicated health workers worked flat out during the pandemic and were promised so much by politicians and yet when it comes to the crunch our domestics, caterers, porters are being let down on pay. The health secretary can no longer look the other way on pay – our NHS staff deserve better.”

Matt McLaughlin, UNISON Scotland’s head of health called on the First Minister to intervene and avoid strikes. He said: “UNISON is gearing up for the biggest NHS industrial action ballot in the history of devolution. The Scottish Government needs to step up now and ensure NHS workers get a fair deal on pay to avoid the dispute mirroring the disruption we have recently seen in refuse and other public services.”


Note for editors

For further information contact:

  • Matt McLaughlin, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, on 07904 341 979
  • Wilma Brown, chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, on 07974 027 847
  • Trisha Hamilton, UNISON Scotland’s communications officer, on 07943 507 307