NHS staff are angry that Scottish Health Secretary has dismissed calls to re-open pay talks, says UNISON

NHS staff have called on the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health to re-open pay negotiations, saying: ‘Don’t call us NHS heroes then dismiss us when it comes to pay’.  The comments are from a UNISON survey of NHS staff in Scotland. UNISON’s survey received 7000 responses in 24 hours:

87% think the NHS should consider a further pay award this year
80% say they are tired or very tired
72% say they are exhausted after work
30% of staff are not getting adequate breaks

UNISON’s survey confirms that NHS staff have had extra childcare costs, extra transport costs because they can’t use restricted public transport, are washing their clothes more often, have been isolating from family, and are mentally and physically exhausted.

They feel it is only fair that the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman reopens this years pay deal, particularly in light of the extra costs they have had.

Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, said: “Our survey shows the strength of feeling. NHS staff across Scotland are angry that Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman has not agreed to re-open talks on NHS pay for 2020/21.

We all welcomed our Health Secretary and First Minister clapping for our ‘brilliant NHS workers’. But it’s disappointing that the thanks appears to end at a round of applause, after Ms Freeman has not agreed to re-open talks on pay.

This is after health workers received one of the lowest public sector pay awards in the country and staff have many extra costs to deal with. We hoped for better from the Scottish Government.”

Tom Waterson, chair of the UNISON Scotland’s health committee said: “Ordinary people in Scotland say that health workers should be rewarded for the incredible work during this global pandemic. At least seven health care workers have died in Scotland of Covid-19. But even with those tragedies and the failings on PPE and testing, NHS staff have still put public needs first.

The public are overwhelmingly on the side of NHS workers, now it’s time for the Scottish Government to decide if they agree with them. UNISON are ready to talk, if she doesn’t want to talk about pay then NHS workers will know how much Ms Freeman’s clapping for the NHS was worth.”

UNISON is the biggest trade union in the NHS. They are the biggest trade union in Scotland.

The UNISON survey of NHS received 7000 responses in 24 hours.

Quotes of NHS staff in the survey:
Anonymous NHS worker said: ‘I am very grateful for having employment during this difficult Pandemic, and  for the extra hours. However, as I do not drive, I have had to use taxis to get me to work, and have been working 6 days out of 7 since 20th March, this has cost me in excess of 1 weeks wages every month.’

Anonymous NHS workers said: ‘Covid 19 has affected me financially. I used to get 2 buses home and now because of COVID-19 bus schedules have to take a train and a bus which costs extra. Also on bank holidays the buses are even worse and I have to take a taxi to and from work’.

Anonymous NHS workers said:  ‘I have had to buy masks and hand gel to get to and from work safely. Extra showers and washing uniforms daily instead of leaving them in the laundry pile is costing more electicity’

Other comments include:  
‘Don’t call us NHS heroes then dismiss us when it comes to pay’,
‘NHS nurses work very hard; a clap is appreciated but wont pay our bills’,
‘You have absolutely no idea how healthcare workers in hospitals feel at the moment, stressed and fearful for their own families’
‘We have done our bit for the NHS now it’s time for them to do theirs for us and give a fair pay rise’
‘Clapping and banging pots and pans don’t pay bills,

UNISON Contacts: 
Willie Duffy: 07904 342129
Tom Waterson:  07753 627575
Danny Phillips / Trisha Hamilton: 07944 664110 / 07903 853054