Non pay element of the 2023/2024 NHS Scotland Pay Deal
As previously communicated, it was agreed as part of this year’s pay deal work would be undertaken to review and modernise parts of the Agenda for Change (AfC) terms and conditions of service agreement.
A number of areas were identified for review and over the summer four subgroups were established made up of Scottish Government officials, trade union and employer representatives to look at some key issues for our members.
This work has now been completed and the reports from each subgroup were signed off at the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee on 22 November for submission to the Cabinet Secretary.
Three of the areas identified for review were.
- Protected learning time to develop and agree the implementation of a scheme which secures learning time during scheduled shifts for all AfC staff.
- Review of Band 5 nursing role to develop and agree a scheme which would support band 5 nurses who are working above their grade to submit regrading claims.
- Reduction in the working week to develop and agree an implementation plan which would reduce the standard working week (with no loss of pay) for all NHS staff in Scotland from 37.5hrs (wte) to 36 hours – in no less than 3 years.
It is hoped the Cabinet Secretary will accept the proposals outlined in the reports from these three subgroups and agree to implementation.
The work of the fourth subgroup identified a number of key elements of the pay and reward system for staff which we believed required to be modernised. This included restructure of the pay spine to equalise the value of increments, pay progression periods, pay on promotion, on call allowance, compensatory rest, pay rates for working unsocial hours and having a standard approach to the application of Annex 21 across Scotland. This report did not focus on implementation but identified areas of consensus. Consensus was not reached on all elements discussed but this work could influence future pay negotiations.
The full content of the reports are confidential at this time.
RCM Midwives and MSWs have accepted the Scottish Government’s pay offer. In a turnout of 44% of eligible RCM members working in the NHS in Scotland, 69% voted to accept the deal, with 31% rejecting it.
Following a meeting of the NHS trade unions/professional organisation yesterday morning the Cabinet Secretary for Health was notified the 2023/24 pay offer has been unanimously accepted.
A circular has now gone out to each health board advising them to implement the pay element of the award. This means the pay uplift and lump sum payment should be in your April pay packets.
The offer came following intense negotiations between health unions - including the RCM - and the Scottish Government. The deal will see most midwives and MSWs – depending on where they are on the pay scale – getting a consolidated pay rise of around 6.5% for the 2023/24 pay year with hopes it will be in April pay packets. This is on top of the imposed pay rise already in pay packets for 2022/2023, meaning most RCM members will have received a consolidated 13-14% pay rise over a two-year period. The deal also includes a lump sum equivalent to three calendar months value of the difference between an employee’s basic rate of pay for 2022/23 and 2023/24 pay.
This is a good offer that gives our members most of what they had been asking for including an above inflation pay award and a commitment to reform of NHS pay bands. While pay is crucial this was also about midwives feeling seen and valued. Improving retention through better working conditions, professional midwifery issues and the wellbeing of staff are also a key component of this. Most importantly, it was also about our members standing tall and being prepared to take action to ensure better care for women, babies, and their families.
Now this deal is in place, we can start work in earnest on addressing the other issues covered by it through the non-pay elements and the recently announced Scottish Government Ministerial Task Force for midwives and nurses. This means the RCM and other health unions working with the Scottish Government to put into action their firm promises to address the rising pressures on services, the growing staffing shortages, and invest in maternity services and the wider NHS. This includes ensuring midwives, MSWs and their colleagues have the time for crucial development and ongoing training and learning which are vital to the safety of care, something many were having to do in their own time.
This offer also includes elements of an earlier one rejected by RCM members in a consultation in December. This includes the continuation of overtime payments for senior midwives, making a significant difference to their pay, and retaining the enhanced mileage allowances for staff using their cars for work. It also includes plans to reduce the working week to 36 hours with no loss of earnings.
This proves that when midwives, MSWs and their NHS colleagues take a stand, governments must listen and act. It also proves that when all parties sit around a table and negotiate in good faith, the result is happier staff, which means better care, which at bottom is what we are all striving for.
Below are the results of the ballot that closed at midday 27 October 2022, RCM members in Scotland voted overwhelmingly for action short of strike (94.6% in favour) and strike action (88.03% in favour).
Members feelings on the derisory offer from the Scottish Government have been made clear. The revised offer made late last week has made no meaningful difference to the initial offer for most RCM members across Scotland, in fact it is a reduction for those at the top of band 7 and above
Keep an eye out for more information on next steps for the Deliver a Decent Deal campaign in Scotland.
The result of the industrial action ballot of RCM members employed in the NHS in Scotland is set out below:
- the number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot 2555
- the number of votes cast in the ballot 1558
- the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?” 1353
- the number of individuals answering “no” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?” 184
- the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?” was at least 40% of the individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot
- the number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned 21
- the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?” 1420
- the number of individuals answering “no” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?” 81
- the number of individuals answering “yes” to the question “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?” was at least 40% of the individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot
- the number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned 57
- the number of votes cast in the ballot was at least 50% of the number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot
The NHS Scotland Joint Trade Union Pay Claim for 2022 – 2023 was submitted to the Scottish Government in March having been agreed by all the trade unions and professional organisations represented on the Scottish Terms & Conditions Committee (STAC) of which the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is a member. The Scottish Government chose to initiate direct negotiations with the health trade unions through STAC rather than participate in the Pay Review Process.
STAC staff side recognised recruitment and retention is a significant issue across the whole of NHS Scotland. It asked in its pay claim and through negotiations that the pay increase should reflect the skills and value of staff whilst recognizing and rewarding staff across NHS Scotland. The RCM specifically raising how this impacts on their members.
STAC staff side stated that the pay offer must address:
The rising cost of inflation on NHS Scotland Staff and ensure they can cope with rising and rapidly fluctuating costs which may change significantly over the pay year.
Absorb the impact of increases to pension contributions and change in taxation.
Benchmark the bottom of the structure against the Real Living Wage.
Be a significant down payment on the journey of pay restoration to recognise the years of below inflation pay increases experienced by NHS Scotland Staff.
In addition to a significant above inflation pay increase the negotiations also required existing staff are properly rewarded by the full use of Agenda for Change in order to retain staff in the NHS. In particular, that priority should be given to measures that:
Ensure banding outcomes reflect job content
Reward additional hours fairly
Prevent burnout by limiting excess hours
Support progression and career development
Encourage NHS Scotland employers to use recruitment & retention premia (RRP) to recruit and retain staff where shortages are a risk to staff wellbeing and quality of care.