Unite Scotland has written to the First Minister demanding that the £500 payment for NHS workers be extended to all workers in NHS, local authorities, private health and social care settings.
Following the announcement by the First Minister at the SNP Conference on 30 November, the country’s leading trade union has raised concerns over the rising ‘disappointment’ and ‘frustration’ felt by key public sector workers.
This includes third-sector and local government workers who are being excluded from the ‘Thank You’ payment despite playing a critical public health role during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unite has raised specific concerns with the First Minister over whether a number of groups covered by NHS pay guidelines will in fact receive the full payment including agency workers, catering and cleaning staff within social care settings.
The trade union has also highlighted the gross unfairness surrounding NHS staff doing a particular role being eligible for the £500 payment, while the same worker in a local authority will not be such Occupational Therapists.
Unite Scotland has drawn further attention to the lack of clarity over the qualifying period to be eligible for the payment, and those staff on zero-hour contracts and ‘bank’ workers where an undetermined criterion will be applied on a pro-rata basis. Third Sector providers of NHS services particularly those who work in Mental Health such as Addictions and Recovery are also set to be ignored by the Scottish Government. These workers have continued to provide frontline care but also stepped-up to provide additional NHS services that are not a part of the funded remit for their services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unite Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty said: “Unite Scotland has been inundated from our members in local government, the Third Sector and also those working within NHS services who are set to miss out on the £500 payment. There is mounting frustration at the gross unfairness of this ill-thought-out policy, which was announced on the hoof by the First Minister at the SNP Conference.
“Tens of thousands of key public sector workers equally deserving of the payment are being completely ignored and discriminated against by the Scottish Government. How can it be fair that Third Sector workers who have gone beyond the call of duty to support our NHS during the pandemic will not receive £500?
“There needs to be an immediate review of the payment because there are more holes in this policy than a kitchen sieve. Unite believes that the £500 payment should be given to all workers in NHS, local authorities, private health and social care settings regardless of the hours they are employed and that it should be paid in full.”