Scotland’s NHS staff call on Scottish Government to show appreciation for them, says UNISON

Health workers across Scotland begin two days of campaigning today (Tuesday) calling on the Scottish Government for an early, significant pay rise of at least £2,000 for every worker in the NHS.

UNISON members – including nurses, midwives, paramedics, cleaners, domestics and porters – will be taking to social media as well as holding a virtual pay rally later today (Tuesday) to call for a fair pay rise.

UNISON’s new general secretary, Christina McAnea will address the rally, pressing home the message that health workers deserve much more than applause for their efforts during the pandemic. It will be the first event in Scotland for the Drumchapel-raised general secretary since she became head of the country’s biggest union following her election earlier this month.

She said: “Since the start of this pandemic, our NHS workers have shown immense dedication, commitment and compassion and it’s time they‘re fairly rewarded. That‘s why UNISON is fighting for all health workers to get a £2,000 pay rise.

“The Scottish Government is paying staff a £500 ‘bonus’ in February. That’s a welcome acknowledgment that staff have gone above the call of duty in the past year but it isn’t the full pay rise they deserve – that’s why our campaign is continuing.

“Investing in the NHS and its incredible staff is a must for the government. It would help the health service tackle the mounting staff shortages that were already causing huge problems even before the virus hit.

“An early pay rise would also be the country’s best way of saying a heartfelt thank you to every single member of the NHS team.”

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

“A £2,000 pay rise for everyone is fair, reasonable, simple and could be implemented quickly.”

Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, said: “Our politicians have been quick to praise our health workers. It’s now time they showed their appreciation by rewarding them with a fair and meaningful pay rise.

“We are calling on the Scottish Government to fulfil its commitment to a speedy settlement of the 2021/22 pay deal for health workers.”


1. UNISON Scotland is the union for health workers and the largest union in Scotland

2. UNISON Scotland’s pay rally will take place on Tuesday, 26 January at 6pm. It will be live-streamed on Facebook at

For further information please contact:

Willie Duffy, UNISON head of health, on 07904 342 129.
Tom Waterson, chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, on 07753 627 575
Trisha Hamilton, UNISON Scotland’s communications officer, on 07943 507 307