Union calls for NHS heroes to be properly rewarded and pay talks to be reopened

NHS staff are angry that Scottish Health Secretary has dismissed calls to reopen pay talks, says UNISON

By Kevin McRoberts
Monday, 15th June 2020, 12:01 am
There has been lots of appreciation for the efforts of NHS staff - and UNISON is calling for that appreciation to be reflected in their pay packets.
There has been lots of appreciation for the efforts of NHS staff - and UNISON is calling for that appreciation to be reflected in their pay packets.

NHS staff have called on the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health to reopen pay negotiations, saying: ‘Don’t call us NHS heroes then dismiss us when it comes to pay’.

The comments are from a UNISON survey of NHS staff in Scotland.

UNISON’s survey received 7000 responses in 24 hours:

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• 87 per cent think the NHS should consider a further pay award this year

• 80 per cent say they are tired or very tired

• 72 per cent say they are exhausted after work

• 30 per cent of staff are not getting adequate breaks

UNISON’s survey confirms that NHS staff have had extra childcare costs, extra transport costs because they can’t use restricted public transport, are washing their clothes more often, have been isolating from family, and are mentally and physically exhausted.

They feel it is only fair that the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman reopens this year’s pay deal, particularly in light of the extra costs they have had.

Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, said: “Our survey shows the strength of feeling.

“NHS staff across Scotland are angry that Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman has not agreed to re-open talks on NHS pay for 2020/21.

“We all welcomed our Health Secretary and First Minister clapping for our ‘brilliant NHS workers’. But it’s disappointing that the thanks appears to end at a round of applause, after Ms Freeman has not agreed to re-open talks on pay.

“This is after health workers received one of the lowest public sector pay awards in the country and staff have many extra costs to deal with.

“We hoped for better from the Scottish Government.”

Tom Waterson, chair of the UNISON Scotland’s health committee, said: “Ordinary people in Scotland say that health workers should be rewarded for the incredible work during this global pandemic.

“At least seven health care workers have died in Scotland of Covid-19. But even with those tragedies and the failings on PPE and testing, NHS staff have still put public needs first.

“The public are overwhelmingly on the side of NHS workers, now it’s time for the Scottish Government to decide if they agree with them.

“UNISON are ready to talk, if she doesn’t want to talk about pay then NHS workers will know how much Ms Freeman’s clapping for the NHS was worth.”