Healthcare union prepares for industrial action ballot over proposed pay increase
NHS staff belonging to Wales’ biggest healthcare union will be balloted for industrial action after news of a pay rise was described as being “not good”.
Last week it was announced that Health Minister Eluned Morgan had accepted the recommendations of NHS pay review bodies.
The recommendation of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB), for all NHS staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions – including nurses, cleaners, porters, healthcare support workers and healthcare professionals, is for a £1,400 pay rise on most pay grades.
For the lowest paid staff (bands 1 to 4), which make up nearly half of the Agenda for Change workforce, this will on average equate to a 7.5% pay rise on pay grades.
The starting salary for the lowest paid roles in band 1 and the bottom of band 2 in NHS Wales will now be £20,758, this equates to a pay rise of 10.8% this financial year for this band.
For staff at the top of band 6 and in band 7, the £1,400 payment will be enhanced to be equivalent to a 4% pay rise.
The Health Minister has also agreed the recommendations of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) to increase pay by 4.5% for junior doctors, consultants, GPs and dentists employed directly by the health boards.
However the pay rise has been criticised by unions, with BMA Cymru last week describing it as “nothing short of a kick in the teeth for hard-working doctors.”
Now members of Unison will be balloted on whether industrial action should be taken in response to the pay rise.
The union says a “below-inflation pay rise in a cost-of-living crisis is not good enough.”
Dawn Ward, chair of UNISON Cymru Wales health committee, said: “Welsh government has totally let down healthcare workers in the middle of the worst cost of living crisis in living memory.
“Our salaries have been so tightly squeezed by years of Westminster underfunding that NHS staff simply cannot cope with rocketing bills and groceries.
“Being a healthcare worker can be stressful at the best of times, you shouldn’t have to be worrying about where the next meal will come from. But that is the desperate situation many NHS staff are in.”
Hugh McDyer, UNISON Cymru Wales head of health, added: “It’s very disappointing Welsh government turned down our request for additional pay enhancements for health workers in Wales.
“A decent pay rise would be a start in sorting out the workforce crisis which is at the heart of a number of health service problems.
“Welsh government recognises their offer falls short of what is needed in this crisis, but blames a lack of funding for pay from Westminster.
“This deal does not meet the needs of the health workforce in Wales and we will begin preparations towards conducting an industrial action ballot. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com