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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 00:28 GMT 01:28 UK
Nursing unions seek wage hike
Nurses with patient
Unions say poor pay is affecting recruitment
Unions are calling for a 20% pay rise for Scottish nurses to bring them into line with other public sector employees.

In a submission to the Pay Review Body, they say increased funding for the health service should be used to improve the wages of nurses, midwives and health visitors.

Nursing unions argue that poor pay is making it difficult to recruit and retain staff.

The UK Government and the Scottish Executive have pledged record levels of funding for the NHS.

Hospital trolleys
Investment in the NHS is increasing
Unison and the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland say this means the health service can no longer use the excuse that it cannot afford to increase staff salaries.

Doctors have already secured pay rises on condition they reform the way they work and nurses want a similar deal.

Nursing representatives in Scotland claim that poor pay is making recruitment difficult.

The number of nursing vacancies increased by 12% last year, while the number of posts vacant for three months or more soared by 82%.

Unions would like to see a pay rise of about 20% to bring nurses into line with teachers and police officers.

Starting salary

Unison's lead officer for nursing in Scotland, Bridget Hunter, said: "Nurses, midwives and health visitors are the life blood of the NHS and we cannot risk losing more of these essential workers because of low pay."

However, ministers say they will not allow extra investment to be used up by pay settlements across the board.

The Scottish National Party has promised nurses an 11% pay rise if it wins power at next year's Holyrood elections.

The party said the move would cost 150m a year and would create a starting salary of almost 19,000.

However, the executive accused the SNP of attempting to "drive a wedge" between Scottish staff and those elsewhere in the UK over pay.

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 ON THIS STORY
UNISON senior national officer Maggie Dunn
"We're not coming out with huge percentage increase demands"
See also:

28 Sep 02 | Scotland
21 Aug 02 | Scotland
20 Aug 02 | Scotland
09 Aug 02 | Scotland
19 Nov 01 | Scotland
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