NHS workers marching in Edinburgh at a protest last year (Picture: NHS Workers For Fair Pay – Scotland)

Health workers in Scotland took a step towards pay strikes last week, delivering a near-unanimous vote against the government’s terrible pay offer. All major health unions balloted their members after the government offered a “rise” of just 5 percent—despite inflation being more than double that.

Members of the Unison and RCN unions rejected that insult by over 90 percent. The smaller Unite union recorded 89 percent, while the GMB scored a whopping 97 percent. “I’m extremely proud to be part of the NHS today,” mental health nurse and RCN member Pauline Brady told Socialist Worker, after the results were announced.

“We’ve sent a very clear message to the Scottish government that we aren’t going to allow them to feed us scraps.” Pauline says that a “record breaking” number of NHS Scotland staff returned their ballots, suggesting they’ll be willing to vote for strike in a formal industrial action ballot in the autumn.

“The government now has a choice, offer an above inflation pay rise or watch us strike,” said Pauline. “We need to follow in the footsteps of other workers and exercise our rights.

“We must not back down until we get what is owed to us.” Pauline is right. 

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