Officials and reps from UNISON‘s NHS branches across Scotland are meeting today to nominate strike dates, in a sharp escalation of the dispute over changes to staff pensions.
The NHS scheme north of the border is funded separately from the rest of the health service in the UK and detailed negotiations with the SNP-led government in Edinburgh have not begun.
However, despite the lack of any agreement, management is are still planning to impose an increase in staff contributions along with other NHS workers in the UK from 1st April.
The industrial action is being described as ‘selective’, involving key NHS workers and ‘designed to bring ministers to the negotiating table’ on pensions.
Today’s meeting comes as a number of unions are preparing for a second coordinated mass strike on 28th March against the Coalition’s proposed pension reforms.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, one official ruled out UNISON in Scotland officially joining that strike ‘at this stage’.
Nationally, negotiations continuing over a final version of the Heads of Agreement document on changes to the NHS scheme. No agreement has been reached yet on planned increases to staff contribution rates for the new career-average scheme after 2015.
Senior UNISON health reps from across the UK are due to meet in the coming weeks to decide on the timetable for a ballot on the proposals and any recommendation to members.