UNISON launch campaign to scrap the 1% pay rise cap on NHS workers

NHS union UNISON have launched a summer of campaign activity calling on the Scottish Government to ‘scrap the cap’ on NHS pay, which will include the union and members lobbying Scottish Government ministers on pay as they carry out their annual round of NHS Board Reviews.

The union which represents almost 60,000 workers across NHS Scotland have been extremely critical of government and the ‘Independent Pay Review Body’ after a series of below inflation pay rises were awarded to NHS workers across the UK.

Tom Waterson, chair of the UNISON health committee said, “We cannot have another year where the UK Government’s infatuation with austerity leads to another real terms cut in the pay of NHS workers. In recent months we’ve seen examples time and time again where politicians praise the work of our loyal and dedicated membership and yet they refuse to deliver a fair deal on pay.”

UNISON welcomes the Scottish Government’s recognition that the pay cap is hurting NHS workers.

Tom Waterson said: “UNISON members welcome the recognition that the pay cap cannot continue. It is now time for that recognition to be turned into positive action. UNISON branches and members across Scotland will be using the summer and autumn to secure Scottish pay bargaining and a fair deal for NHS workers.”

UNISON has welcomed the offer from the Scottish Government to enter into separate pay bargaining in Scotland.

Tom Waterson continued: “The Pay Review Body lost any pretence of independence when it awarded a below inflation 1% pay rise to NHS workers. The Scottish government’s suggestion that we dump the Pay Review Body and deal with pay in Scotland by negotiation is supported by UNISON and we will be using our influence over the summer to secure a conclusion which sees the Pay Review Body consigned to the bin as we campaign to ‘scrap the cap’.”

The union’s summer campaign will coincide with the annual review process which takes place in all NHS Scotland health boards. UNISON vows to be ‘seen and to be heard’ in the lead up to and at each and every event.

Matt McLaughlin, UNISON’s head of health for Scotland, said: “UNISON is the only union in the NHS with the grass roots organisation and resources to organise and sustain a campaign like this. Across Scotland, UNISON activists and members will be seen and heard as we demand that the Government ‘scrap the cap.’”

UNISON Contacts

Matt McLaughlin, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, on 07904 341979

Danny Phillips, communications officer for UNISON Scotland, on 07944 664110


  1. UNISON is the UK biggest trade union in the NHS
  2. Further details of UNISON campaign can be found at https://unison-scotland.org/service-groups-and-sectors/health
  3. Pay losses:
  • Band 2 – annual loss – 8.9% or 1,802
  • Band 4 – annual loss – 14.1% or £3,736
  • Band 5 – annual loss – 13.9% or £4,625
  • Band 6 – annual loss – 14.1% or £5,222
  1. UNISON will be taking the campaign around Scotland
  • 3 July NHS Ayrshire and Arran
  • 6 July NHS Fife
  • 20 July NHS Border for Pay Review Board evidence gathering session
  • 21 August NHS Shetland
  • 31 August NHS Highland
  • 8 September NHS Lanarkshire
  • 29 September NHS Lothian
  • 2 October NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • 16 October NHS Tayside