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Friday 27 July 2018

Scotland and Wales make three-year pay offers

By MiP

Scottish bank notes

NHS unions in Scotland are consulting members on a new three-year pay offer from the Scottish Government, while unions in Wales are set to ballot members on a similar three-year deal following the conclusion of negotiations with employers at the end of July.

The negotiations followed the Treasury’s agreement to fund a £4.2bn pay settlement for staff in England, which led to extra cash being made available for Scotland and Wales under the Barnett formula.

Offer capped for senior staff

In Scotland, the £410m offer will see most staff receive cumulative pay rises – combining cost of living increases, incremental progression and changes to pay bands – of between 9% and 27% by 2021. But, as in England, the Scottish Government insisted on capping rises for some senior staff. Pay rises for managers at the top of band 8D will be restricted to 5.7%, while those at the top of Band 9 will receive 4.7% – in both cases this amounts to a cash increase of £1,600 for each of the three years of the deal.

Under the deal, the minimum NHS salary in Scotland will be raised to £17,460, and some staff will benefit from improved starting salaries and faster progression through their pay bands – although progression rates for MiP members in Bands 8 and 9 remain unchanged.

Full details of the NHS Scotland pay offer are available on the unions’ pay website at nhspayinscotland.org. MiP members are being balloted as part of UNISON, which is recommending that members accept the pay offer. The ballot closes on 14 August.

MiP chief executive Jon Restell said: “We’re very disappointed that the Scottish Government has chosen to follow NHS employers in England by unfairly capping pay rises for some senior managers and failing to improve their progression rates. Many MiP members in Scotland, like their colleagues in England, will feel that their government doesn’t properly value the skilled and experienced managers who work hard to run NHS services under the most trying circumstances.”

In Wales, union members are to be consulted on a Welsh Government offer from which also closely mirrors the three-year deal in England. Under the offer, most staff would receive cumulative pay rises worth 6.5% by April 2021, with higher increases for staff below the top of their pay band, and improvements to starting salaries. All staff would also receive a cash lump sum in 2019-20, worth 1.1% of salary.

As in England and Scotland, the Welsh Government is proposing to cap pay increases and lump sum payments for staff at the top of Bands 8D and 9 by restricting them to the cash value of awards for staff in Band 8C.

Failure to invest

Commenting on the negotiations, MiP national officer for Wales Andy Hardy said: “MiP welcomes the end of the pay cap policy in Wales and the aim of matching, and in some ways going beyond, the deal in England. We also welcome the first meaningful pay rises for members after a long pay freeze which has eroded the value of salaries in the NHS.

“However, we are deeply disappointed that the government here has chosen to mirror the capping of awards in England and Scotland for some senior staff, and failed to invest in shorter progression arrangements for staff in bands 8 and 9,” he added.

NHS unions in Wales are recommending that members accept the offer, with ballots taking place during August and the results expected in early September. As in England and Scotland, MiP members will be balloted as part of UNISON. Full details of the final offer will be sent to all members in Wales by email, and will also be available from the unions’ NHS pay website at nhspay.org.

At the time of going to press, pay talks in Northern Ireland remained at an exploratory stage due to difficulties in establishing a pay policy while the Northern Ireland Assembly Government is suspended. Unions will be pressing for a deal that at least matches the one in England, using the funding available to the assembly under the Barnett formula. Further details will be sent to MiP members in Northern Ireland as soon as they are available.

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