UNISON cautiously welcomes Health Secretary’s commitment to a ‘significantly improved’ pay offer for NHS workers

Responding to today’s (Wednesday) comments from the Health Secretary that he will make a ‘significantly improved’ pay offer for health workers, UNISON Scotland’s head of health Matt McLaughlin said:

“UNISON members will welcome the commitment to meet and discuss the claim we submitted more than six months ago. They will also be keen to see if the Minister’s interpretation of ‘significant’ is the same as theirs.

“However, I am sure that they will be furious that the Minister thinks they can be emotionally blackmailed with a threat to cuts in cancer services and mental health provision. UNISON members work across the NHS in every discipline and every community, they see first-hand the impact that failing governments have on people; their health and NHS services. For the Scottish Government to suggest that a pay offer might be contingent on cost to life saving services is a very low blow.”


Notes to editors

Humza Yousaf, Health Secretary, made the comments on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme today (Monday).

He told the programme: “The Government came forward with a 5% pay deal which was a record high pay deal, I understand why trade unions are asking for a pay deal that is closer to inflation – because of the UK Government’s economic mismanagement inflation is through the roof.

“But equally I have to present an improved offer, I accept that, but one that is within the financial envelope, that I don’t have to take money away from cancer services or mental health services.

“I will be doing everything in my power to prevent industrial action from taking place, which includes in our next meeting with trade unions coming forward with a significantly improved pay offer for them.”

He later said: “I’m not going to negotiate through the airwaves here with you but I have said to the trade unions in my conversations with them already – although I’m disappointed that their members have rejected – I accept fully that they have a mandate from their members to reject that offer and therefore they can expect a significantly improved offer when we next sit round the table, planned for next week.”

For further information

Matt McLaughlin, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, on 07904 341 979

Trisha Hamilton, communications officer, on 07943 507 307

​Stephen Low, policy officer, on 07956 852 822