NHS formally notified of strike ballot as pay dispute continues

UNISON Scotland is gearing up to ballot more than 50,000 NHS members in a dispute over pay.

All NHS employers have now received a formal strike notification from UNISON, today (Thursday) – advising them the official ballot will commence on 3 October.

More than 80% voted in favour of industrial action in UNISON’s recent consultative ballot.

Wilma Brown, chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, said: “The Scottish Government’s offer is nowhere near enough to keep pace with rising prices, and is nowhere near what’s needed to improve staffing and protect patient care. It will only worsen the current NHS staffing crisis.

“It is now 6 months since NHS staff should have had a pay increase, it is simply not good enough. No-one wants to take strike action but without urgent intervention from the Scottish Government on pay, our members will be left with no choice.”

Matt McLaughlin, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, said: “This is the first time since devolution that NHS workers have been balloted for strike action over pay. We’re in the biggest cost of living and NHS staffing crisis in history and yet the Scottish Government want hard-working health workers to accept a real-terms pay cut.

“The Health Minister needs to understand the anger felt by NHS workers and telling them that he is disappointed they did not accept a below inflation pay deal is not going to solve this dispute. Our hard working NHS staff deserve better, and the minister needs to come back to the table with a serious offer.”

Notes to editors
• UNISON Scotland has written to 21 territorial and special health boards and 8 private contractors to advise them of the formal ballot. The ballot does not include the Western Isles.
• UNISON is Scotland’s largest NHS trade union.
• UNISON Scotland’s NHS strike ballot will take place from 3-31 October.
• You can view the full pay offer online here: https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2022-June-Final-Offer.pdf

For further information
• 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
• Danny Phillips, communications officer, on 07944 664 110 or 07717715277