Unions have confirmed that NHS Scotland staff have accepted a pay increase offer, which has prevented a strike.
Unite health members voted 64% yes to accept the improved offer which was put forward two weeks ago following talks involving Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, health secretary Humza Yousaf, NHS Scotland and the unions.
Unison, the largest NHS union in Scotland, also confirmed that its members voted to accept the Scottish government’s wage offer, with 57% voting in favour.
It means that planned industrial action which would affect the Scottish Ambulance Service, as well as the Scottish NHS in general, has been cancelled.
Unison said the acceptance was “a warning” and not “a victory” for the government.
The latest offer represents an average pay increase of 7.5% in NHS Scotland, with up to 11.24% for those in the lower pay bands.
Workers in pay bands one through four will receive a fixed payment of £2,205, and those in pay bands five through seven will receive increases ranging from £2,280 to £2,660.
Humza Yousaf previously stated that there was no more money for an improved offer.
Unison Scotland health committee chair Wilma Brown said: “While this decision ends the immediate threat of industrial action, it is not a victory for government, it is a warning.
“It was far from a unanimous decision and many of the NHS professional qualifications feel very disappointed. Almost half of Unison NHS staff voted to reject this latest payment offer, and many of those who voted to accept did so reluctantly.
Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, said the union “will not apologize” for fighting for better jobs, pay and conditions for healthcare workers.
“The improved offer for NHS Scotland workers, worth more than 11% for the lowest pay bands, is a testament to the determination of our members,” he said.
“They were prepared to take the difficult step of taking industrial action, but only because they had no other choice.
“Unite makes no apologies for fighting for better jobs, pay and conditions in the health service because NHS Scotland workers should be fairly rewarded for the outstanding work they do every day.”
James O’Connell, Unite’s lead negotiator for NHS Scotland, welcomed the acceptance of the offer.
“We believe that the improved offer was the best that could be negotiated in the current circumstances,” he said.
“Ultimately it was up to our NHS members to consider whether the offer was acceptable, and they have now judged by 64%.
“However, these protracted negotiations should be a warning to the Scottish government. They can no longer take NHS workers for granted and commonplaces are not enough.
“Words must be backed by action, and the threat of industrial action need not be on the cards if workers were given a fair offer in the summer.”
O’Connell added: “We will hold the Scottish government to account for the commitments they have made and urge them to start negotiations in the coming months to address current concerns within NHS Scotland.”
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I welcome Unison and Unite members who accept this record payment offer. We have engaged tirelessly with union representatives over the past several weeks, leaving no stone unturned in coming up with an offer that addresses key staff concerns across the service.
“This offer of over half a billion pounds underscores our commitment to supporting our fantastic NHS staff. A newly qualified nurse would see a pay increase of 8.7%, with experienced nurses getting increases of between £2,450 and £2,751.
“We are making this offer at a time of extraordinary financial challenges for the Scottish Government to get money into the pockets of hard working staff and avoid strike action, in what is already going to be an incredibly challenging winter.
“Constructive engagement is crucial, and I urge the UK government to come back to the bargaining table with unions as we have done in Scotland.”