Why Scotland members should have a say on pay

By Jackie Mitchell, National Officer Scotland on 04 May 2021 Pay Scotland

Since the summer of 2020, the RCM has joined other NHS trade unions in Scotland in calling on the Scottish Government to propose a new and fair pay deal for our members. We have received the offer and now we want to know what you think.  

The Scottish Government has offered a pay increase of four per cent for the year 2021-2022 to NHS staff covered by Agenda for Change (AfC) terms and conditions. The RCM’s consultation opened on 12 April and closes at midday on 10 May. We want as many members working in Scotland to respond to the consultation to tell us how you feel about the pay proposal – to have your say on your pay.

Whether you are for or against or maybe on the fence, it is important you have all the background in order to make an informed decision. There was a lot of negotiation and discussions that got us to where we are, and I'd like to share them with you.   

Initially, there was little progress until the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman wrote to NHS staff covered by AfC terms and conditions in February 2021 advising they would receive a one per cent increase in pay backdated to 1 December 2020, but it would be the summer before further negotiations on pay would be concluded.

This position was unacceptable to the RCM and the other trade unions. The hard work, commitment and dedication shown by our members working in the NHS during the pandemic deserved better and we believed they should not have to wait for a pay rise.

We met with the Cabinet Secretary on 9 March and we emphasised the need to start negotiations without further delay. At the meeting, the Cabinet Secretary agreed for formal discussion to commence.

Negotiations were time critical as due to the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections, Parliament would go into recess on 25 March when no further discussions could take place until the new Parliament is formed after the election.

We took part in four days of intense discussion among a representative group from the Scottish trade unions, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s NHS Employers, which resulted in an offer for a pay increase being made on 24 March.

The offer was:

  • a flat rate of £1009 to staff on AfC pay bands 1-4
  • four per cent increase for staff on pay bands 5-7
  • two per cent increase for bands 8a-8c
  • £800 for staff who earn £80,000 or more per year

The increase would be backdated to 1 December 2020 giving staff an extra four months of an increase to their pay.

Allowances such as On-Call Availability Payment, Scottish Distant Island Allowance and Recruitment and Retention Payments will be uprated by four per cent.

The next step is for you, our members, to consider this offer and vote by responding via our online consultation process.

You should have received direct communication from the RCM in the form of a letter and an email advising you of the pay offer and providing details of how you can register your vote on the online survey.

If you have not received this, please check the contact details we hold for you and update if necessary either by contacting RCM Connect on 0300 303 0444 or logging on to your profile page on RCM website.

The consultation will close midday on Monday 10 May 2021. Don’t let your vote got to waste. Vote now!