HEALTH Secretary Humza Yousaf has been urged to “see sense” as he resumes formal pay talks with health unions.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) members are among the NHS staff who have threatened strike action following what they describe as an “insulting” pay offer from the Scottish Government.

Yousaf is meeting RCM members and other health unions on Tuesday afternoon to discuss pay conditions.

The RCM has said it will announce dates for strike action with a “heavy heart” if the talks fail.

NHS staff, including midwives and maternity staff, are among those threatening to walk out, with the Government also facing strike action by teachers.

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The Government previously offered NHS staff a £2,205 flat rate pay increase, which would equate to 11% for the lowest earners, however it was rejected by unions.

The offer would have been backdated to April, equating to an average increase of 7%.

But the RCM said it would be a real terms pay cut amid rising inflation, which hit 11.1% last month. They have instead demanded 5% above inflation.

As the discussions head into their third round, Yousaf has been urged to give NHS staff the “pay they deserve”.

Thousands of ambulance service staff and psychiatrists have also backed industrial action.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Jaki Lambert, RCM director for Scotland, said: “We are always open and prepared to talk to the Government to negotiate a decent deal.

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“We called the first pay offer an insult, the revised one just piled injury on to that insult, so this one – the third round now – needs to end with an inflation-busting pay award.

“Our members are still planning for the contingency of industrial action.

“They do so with a heavy heart, but they have been pushed into a corner and see no other option.

“I implore Holyrood to see sense. Prove that their often-touted commitment to NHS staff are not just warm words and give midwives the pay they deserve and need.”

Speaking in Holyrood before the meeting, Yousaf said: "I will be sitting round the table with trade unions to try to hammer out a deal.

"I think it is to their credit and I hope to the credit of all the parties that we are continuing to be prepared all of us to sit down to get a deal to avert strike action.

"None of us want to see industrial action at any time, let alone during the course of this winter, so I look forward to those discussions."