SUB-ZERO temperatures, got those. Strikes across a range of sectors, tick. Government and unions at loggerheads, check.

All reminiscent of 1978-79, yet as could be seen from the Sunday politics shows, this season of industrial unrest is shaping up to be different from its predecessor. Under devolution, for a start, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” deal.

In a week of unprecedented strike action by nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you might have expected the Secretary of State for Health, Steve Barclay, to put in a Sunday morning shift before the cameras.

Instead, it was the Foreign Secretary doing the rounds. The “hook” was a speech James Cleverly will make today on Britain’s changing foreign policy, but it was still an odd move on Downing Street’s part.

According to Mr Cleverly, the Health Secretary had no direct role in pay negotiations.

“Ultimately, salary negotiations are done between union leaders on behalf of their members and their employer,” the Foreign Secretary told Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg. “In this instance, the nurses’ employer is the NHS.”

To Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, this sounded like a game of pass the parcel was being played. In that morning’s Observer, Ms Cullen and Unison officials had offered to pause strikes if Mr Barclay would speak directly to them about pay.

She had a precedent to bolster her case. “Look what happened in Scotland when the First Minister asked to meet with me. It was on a Friday and by Friday evening we had suspended our strike dates for Scotland.”

In the event, the Scottish Government’s offer, averaging 7.5%, was less than the inflation plus 5% the nursing unions elsewhere seek, suggesting there was room for negotiation.

There was further praise for the Scottish Government from Christina McAnea, general secretary of Unison. She said: “Sitting down with health unions and improving the pay on offer has put strikes on hold across Scotland. If Steve Barclay were to mirror Holyrood’s approach and commit to boosting wages this year, the threat of pre-Christmas strikes could well be lifted.”

It was not all pats on the back for Ms Sturgeon and her Government.

BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show heard from Tina, who lives in the Highlands with her partner and children. She and her partner work full-time but are struggling to make ends meet. Dinner is mostly soup or noodles and the house is far from warm.

Roz Foyer, general secretary of the Scottish TUC, told the programme the Scottish Government could and should be doing more to help people such as Tina and her family.

In a report this week, the STUC calculated that by using powers the Government already had, £1.3 billion could be raised initially. Among those who would pay more were those with “serious wealth” and people earning more than £40,000 a year.

Host Martin Geissler pointed out that the £40,000 band could include teachers who did not consider themselves wealthy.

“If we want to create a fairer Scotland we’ve all got to pay our fair share,” said Ms Foyer. For people on £41,000 the rise would amount to an additional £200 a year extra, while those earning £60,000 would pay £1100 more.

“If we don’t start putting money into lower paid workers’ pockets then we are going very quickly to have a huge recession on our hands. What we need is real action, no more words.”

But if it was so easy, said Geissler, why hasn’t the Scottish Government done it?

“It’s not easy, it involves making difficult decisions. Politicians like to get elected. It is not always popular to talk about taxation … Politically it might not go down well but in reality we have to start a grown up conversation.

“If we want a fairer Scotland, if we want to close the gap between the rich and the poor we’re going to have to pay for it. That means taxing wealth, that means redistributing wealth within our economy.”

Looking ahead to Thursday’s Budget, she added: “We need radical action from the Scottish Government if they claim to be on the people’s side. They are not going far enough and they could go further.”

Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for social justice, housing and local government, said the Scottish Government wanted to help where it could. “But the context to this is that our budget has fallen by 10% in real terms due to inflation between this year and last year. Despite that over the last year we have put in place £3 billion to help people with the cost of living crisis, a billion of which is only available in Scotland.”

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