NHS workers to lobby Scottish Parliament to call for immediate action on pay, says UNISON

Scotland’s largest health union, UNISON, will lobby the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Thursday) to call on the Scottish government to ‘pay up now’ and give NHS staff a pay rise this calendar year.

NHS workers will take part in the socially-distanced demonstration and have asked Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, along with other MSPs, to meet with them and hear what it has been like working through the COVID-19 pandemic. 25 UNISON members from Lothian Health Branch and Scottish Healthcare will attend the socially distanced rally to represent UNISON members across Scotland – ensuring they comply with COVID-19 pandemic guidance.

UNISON’s ‘pay up now’ campaign is calling for the three-year NHS pay deal to be renegotiated in light of the pandemic and extra costs incurred by healthcare workers. The union has had meetings with the health secretary but after failing to see any progress, UNISON announced it will now be moving a consultative ballot on industrial action.

Tom Waterson, chairman of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, said: “Our dedicated NHS staff have suffered real-term pay cuts over the last decade with significant extra costs over this pandemic.

“These are just ordinary people thrust into an extraordinary situation and they trusted the Scottish government to recognise them fairly. Disappointingly this hasn’t happened and the time has run out for warm words. UNISON are looking for Jeane Freeman to make good her promise of awarding workers something this calendar year. We urge Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to meet with us as a matter of urgency and get this resolved – we need to pay up now for health workers.”

Willie Duffy, UNISON head of health, said: “Since the start of this pandemic, our NHS workers have shown immense dedication, commitment and compassion and it is time they are fairly rewarded.

“Our politicians are quick to praise our heroic NHS workers who have gone above and beyond during this pandemic – but unfortunately clapping doesn’t pay their bills.

“We want MSPs to hear first-hand from our NHS workers about the realities of working in the NHS during the pandemic and to do the right thing and pay up now.”

For further information:

Tom Waterson, chair of health committee: 07753 627 575
Willie Duffy, head of health: 07904 342 129
Danny Phillips, communications officer: 07944 644110 d.phillips@unison.co.uk