UNISON asks health workers to vote yes for strike action as ballot begins 

More than 50,000 health workers will today (Monday) begin to vote in a strike ballot as the pay dispute continues. 

This is the first time since devolution that health workers have been balloted for strike action over pay.  

UNISON Scotland’s recent consultative ballot saw more than 80% vote in favour of industrial action. 

Wilma Brown, chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, said: “These are unprecedented times and NHS staff are struggling to make ends meet. The Scottish Government’s pay offer is nowhere near enough and leaves everyone in the NHS worse off. It’s a real-terms pay cut across every single NHS salary band. 

“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.” 

Matt McLaughlin, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, said: “Ministers need to understand the anger of health staff who are working in an under-funded, under-staffed NHS. It’s already an extremely stressful environment without having to worry about how you will pay your bills and feed your family. 

“Nobody wants to take strike action but without an improved pay offer, our members will be left with no choice. That is why we are urging our health members to vote in favour of strike action and ballots are being posted today.” 

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