Have your say on the Scotland pay offer

By Jaki Lambert, Director Scotland on 02 March 2023 Maternity Services RCM Trade Unions TUC

I do enjoy this time of the year. Signs of spring start to show and the small and often overlooked snowdrops are the first to burst through not giving a hoot, with resistance against the bleak Scottish winter and hope for better and brighter days. Much like the hardy snowdrop, midwives and MSWs in Scotland have too rooted our feet against the odds and stood up for what will sustain us, what we can’t do without – a fair inflation-busting pay deal.    

Today we are launching the new consultation to find out what you think of the latest pay offer from the Scottish Government. lt will ultimately be for you to decide whether to accept or reject the offer but I wanted to help inform your decision with all the facts.  

So, we were at the point of organising dates for potential industrial action when the Cabinet Secretary and Deputy First Minister decided to make a commitment to us on these three things:

  • That they would recognise that we along with other healthcare unions were still in dispute on the 22/23 pay offer and that because of our collective mandate they would put a lump sum on the table that was effectively backpay to January.
  • That they would commit to coming around the table to reach an agreement that could support an above inflation pay rise. If agreed, we would receive this in pay packets by April 2023 in recognition of the current financial pressure members are facing.
  • That they recognised that the professional groups we represented did not feel valued and that the successive pay increases weighted to the lower paid workers have had the effect of reducing any advantage for taking on study and responsibility.

It was an intense few weeks of ongoing meetings and members left on tenderhooks but the outcome and agreed commitments are definitely a positive spring forward. This offer is currently above inflation. We don’t know what will happen with inflation over the coming months, it is predicted to go down in which case accepting the offer and getting the agreement locked in makes sense. Of course, it is hard to predict the economic forecast as much as it is to predict the weather these days but we must go with what we know.

This is a good step in the right direction but the pay offer alone cannot address some of the issues you have raised and that we continue to raise on your behalf. These are the issues that impact on you feeling valued and ultimately remaining committed to staying in the profession. Losing money when you take on a promoted post, the small distances between grades and the long time to move up increments. These are some of the key areas that are within the terms of the non pay element.

That is why we are pleased that there is an additional commitment to a ministerial task force looking at workforce challenges across clinical, leadership, education and research. We will sit on that group on your behalf to advocate for real career opportunities, time not just to undertake mandatory training but to reflect and develop. Time to spend with the women and families and time to rest. There is no magic wand but knowing that we are being heard, that there is hope and commitment for improvement is a better place to be.

So there you have it. Now it is in your hands to have your say. The results of the consultation will help inform the next steps but no matter what the result is we will continue to advocate for members and midwifery practice in Scotland come rain or come shine.

The consultation closes on 19 March

Complete the consultation and have your say today.