STURGEON: Government offers NHS staff eleventh hour 4% pay rise

Health secretary says the pay rises will benefit 154,000 NHS Agenda for Change employees

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon comes up with the cash and Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.

NHS staff in Scotland were doing a late night jig of joy tonight when it was revealed they have been offered a pay rise of at least 4% by NIcola Sturgeon’s Scottish Government.

The announcement came late this evening following discussions between the government, trade unions and NHS employers over a pay rise for NHS Scotland Agenda for Change staff.

Staff on pay bands one to seven would receive at least a 4% pay rise compared with 2020/21, with workers earning less than £25,000 in 2020/21 guaranteed a minimum increase of more than £1000 in 2021/22.

If accepted by staff, the government says the pay rises will benefit 154,000 NHS Agenda for Change employees – including nurses, paramedics, allied health professionals, as well as domestic, healthcare support staff, porters and other front line health workers.

It comes after NHS workers in Scotland also received a one-off £500 payment from the Scottish Government as a thank you for their work during the coronavirus pandemic, although there is bad feeling attached to that because they have had to pay income tax on it.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Following positive discussions with NHS unions and employees the Scottish Government has put forward an offer of the biggest single pay uplift since devolution for NHS Agenda for Change staff.

“Over 154,000 staff would benefit from this rise, which would see the average pay of a front line NHS Nurse rise by over £1200 a year.

“This deal also includes support staff such as domestic staff, porters and health care support workers, the backbone of our services, who would see pay rises of over £1000 – uplifts of between 4% – 5.4%. The uplift will be backdated from 1 December 2020, rather than the usual 1 April 2021, meaning all those covered by the deal will receive an extra benefit.

“This has been an exceptionally challenging year for our health service and I am pleased that the Scottish Government is able to recognise the service and dedication of our healthcare staff.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland’s NHS staff “deserve more than applause and 1% is not enough” – a reference to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK Government’s recommendation to give NHS workers in England a 1% pay rise.

She tweeted: “@scotgov is offering a 4% pay rise, which would deliver guaranteed minimum increase of £1000 for those earning less than £25,000 and a 5.4% increase for staff on lowest pay band…and all backdated to December 2020.”

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie, pictured right, Labour’s deputy leader and health spokesperson, said: ““This is of course a welcome pay rise.

“Our NHS staff have spent every waking moment of the last year fighting to keep us safe and protected.

“However, so too have social care workers and yet this SNP government has done very little to recognise the hard work that they have been doing.

“It is time that social care workers are given both the pay and recognition that they deserve. That’s why Scottish Labour believe social care workers should be paid £15 per hour and we proposed an immediate increase to £12 per hour in the  recent budget.”

Each trade union will now meet to agree their process for presenting this offer to members.

Colin Poolman, chair of the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) and Royal College of Nursing Scotland senior officer, said: “The timescale for negotiations was tight as a result of the forthcoming election but we have now received an offer for a one-year pay deal.”

Willie Duffy, staffside secretary of STAC and Unison regional organiser, added: “Each of the individual trade unions will now enter into discussions with their members on the offer.”

The immediate reaction from politicians of parties other than the SNP was one of outrage that Ms Sturgeon so close to the end of this parliament, which will not return after the election on May 6 until a week later on May 13, had pulled off what they believe to be a pre-election political masterstroke.

Medical teams like this one will receive a pay offer of four per cent from NHS Scotland.


  1. Firstly it is good that our NHS staff are going to receive a 4% pay increase.They absolutely deserve it, and I think there are few who would disagree.

    However, the bare face chutzpah of holding back on this announcement to the day before Parliament disbands for forthcoming election is absolutely redolent of cynical manipulation.

    Yes the NHS staff will be grateful but it can’t have passed them by of their being dragooned into an electioneering stunt.

  2. Beware politico’s bearing gifts immediately before an election. They’’ll have five years to take the gift back by below inflation rises.

  3. Did you not see the glint from her shiny brass neck, yes the NHS deserve the wage rise, but do all the others that kept the country afloat not deserve the same.
    They have left leaving the bar high, if you work for any government service will you settle for anything less?

Leave a Reply