‘This not a win for government – it is a warning’ says UNISON as health members vote to ACCEPT pay offer

UNISON, Scotland’s largest NHS union, has announced today (Monday) that its members have voted to accept the Scottish government’s pay offer.

UNISON has announced that 57% of NHS members balloted have voted to accept the offer. The turnout in the digital ballot was 62%.

The deal will see most NHS workers in Scotland paid an extra £2,205 per annum, with some staff paid an extra £2,751 a year. It also creates a new minimum wage of £11.09 per hour.

The online ballot closed today (Monday) at noon. UNISON’s health committee have met, and UNISON negotiators will now work with the Scottish government, NHS employers, and other unions to process this pay award as soon as possible.

Chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee Wilma Brown said: “Whilst this decision ends the immediate threat of industrial action, it is not a win for government – it is a warning. It was far from a unanimous decision and many of the NHS professional grades feel badly let down. Almost half of UNISON NHS staff voted to reject this latest pay offer, and many who did vote to accept, did so reluctantly.

“There is a staffing crisis in the NHS. The health service is consistently understaffed and under-resourced and every day staff are expected to deliver more with less. We have the highest job vacancy rates, the longest waiting lists and longest waiting times since records began.

“The cabinet secretary has secured himself a pause in our members’ anger. He now needs to use the next pay round to resolve the under staffing, low staff morale, and pay.”

UNISON Scotland’s head of health Matt McLaughlin said: “The NHS is a very stressful place to work. Teams are under-resourced and NHS staff often work with patient-staff ratios that are dangerously high.

“NHS staff are incredibly resilient, caring and hardworking, they rarely complain about not getting a break or leaving late from a shift. But what they cannot bear is being unable to provide the high level of care that patients deserve because of a lack of staff and the pressures on the service.

“Staff are leaving at an alarming rate and the Scottish government has not been putting in the planning over the last 10 years to avert this staffing crisis.

“Without urgent intervention from the Scottish government the staffing crisis will continue, and more people will be anxiously waiting for treatment. Both patients and staff deserve better.”


UNISON is the largest union in the NHS. UNISON Scotland represents 50,000 NHS workers across Agenda for Change including nurses, midwives and support staff, such as domestics, porters and administrative workers. The union has membership in every health board in Scotland. It also represents workers in social care, education, local government, police staff, energy and utilities.

UNISON consultative digital ballot was run from 28 November to noon 12 December.

Accept 57%
Reject 43%
Turnout 62%

See final pay offer here https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/NHS-Scotland-Agenda-for-Change-7.5-Pay-Offer-2022-23-v4.docx

UNISON contacts:

  • Wilma Brown, health committee chair: 07974 027847
  • Matt McLaughlin, head of health: 07904 341979
  • Danny Phillips, communication officer: 07717 715277/07944 664110