NHS industrial action suspended after fresh pay offer made 

The new offer will be put to Unite members working in the health service

By Bill Heaney

The surprising news comes after “extensive” talks involving First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, health secretary Humza Yousaf, NHS Scotland and trade unions.

They said there was no money for a decent increase, but the new offer will be put to members of the Unite union working in Scotland’s health service.

Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) staff had been due to take industrial action short of strike action on Thursday.

However, Unite has confirmed that the action has been suspended while the new offer is considered.

A consultative ballot of all NHS workers who are members of Unite is to be held, with the union aiming to complete the vote by December 12.

Unite has indicated that the new offer includes an increased pay deal, as well as a commitment to reduce the working week for staff from 37.5 hours to 36 hours with no loss of pay.

“Unite believes that the improved offer deserves to be considered by our members across the NHS,” he said.

“We will be balloting members on this offer and it is for them to decide if the offer meets their expectations.

“We appreciate the work on all sides that has gone into achieving this new offer and recognise the direct involvement of the First Minister in helping to obtain an increased offer that could be put to our members for consideration.”

Pat McIlvogue, Unite regional officer in SAS, added: “The suspension of our action short of strike within SAS is done in good faith to facilitate a consultative ballot of our members on the Scottish Government improved offer.

“We await the outcome of the ballot result for our next step.”

Humza Yousaf, left, said that it is the “best and final” pay offer being made by the Scottish Government.

“We have engaged tirelessly with trade union representatives over recent weeks, leaving no stone unturned to reach an offer which responds to the key concerns of staff across the service,” he said.

“This best and final pay offer of over half a billion pounds underlines our commitment to supporting our fantastic NHS staff.

The health secretary explained that if agreed, the pay uplift will be backdated to April.

“We are making this offer at a time of extraordinary financial challenges to the Scottish Government,” said Yousaf.

“We have made the best offer possible to get money into the pockets of hard working staff and to avoid industrial action in what it already going to be an incredibly challenging winter.

“If the offer is agreed this pay uplift will also be backdated to April.

“Finally, I would urge the UK Government to get back to the negotiating table with the unions.

“This settlement has been shaped by the unions’ constructive approach and I hope it is backed by their members.”

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