Posted: Tue 28th Feb 2023

Nurses in Wales prepare for strike action after rejecting latest pay offer

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Feb 28th, 2023

Nurses in Wales have rejected the additional pay offer put forward by the Welsh Government for 2022-23.

This announcement has been made by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales, raising the possibility of further strike action in the near future.

According to the RCN, its members have “overwhelmingly” voted against the 3% extra pay boost for NHS staff, which was proposed earlier this month by the Welsh Government.

The RCN Wales Director, Helen Whyley, has written to the Minister for Health and Social Services urging the Welsh government to return to the negotiating table within five working days to resolve the dispute.

If the Minister does not respond within that timeframe, RCN Wales will resume planning for further strike action.

The RCN, which represents 25,000 nurses, health care support workers and students in Wales, has been in dispute with the Welsh government for months over pay and staffing issues.

The consultative ballot was open to RCN members working on Agenda for Change contracts in NHS Wales between 10-27 February, members voted to reject the Welsh government’s offer.

The Welsh government put forward an additional pay offer of 3%, of which 1.5% is consolidated (carried over into future pay awards) and 1.5% is unconsolidated (a lump sum in 2022/23 only).

This offer would be backdated to April 2022 and is additional to the Pay Review Body recommendations for 2022/23 which have already been implemented in full. Included in this revised package are several non-pay commitments.

Ms Whyley stated that the additional pay offer had not been accepted by RCN members, who constitute the majority of the nursing workforce in the NHS in Wales, and they understand the direct impact it would have.

The offer failed to address the years of being undervalued and understaffed, and nurses feel they have no alternative but to strike.

In a statement, Ms Whyley said, “Let’s be clear: this offer has not been accepted by RCN members. The Welsh government must take urgent action to bring this long-standing dispute to a close.”

The RCN has requested, in writing, that negotiations with the Welsh government recommence urgently.

If the request is ignored, the RCN Wales Board has agreed to announce further dates for strike action in due course.

RCN members have stated that the pay offer fails to address the longstanding issues of understaffing and undervaluing of the nursing workforce.

The RCN’s members are expected to take to the picket lines once again in the coming weeks, putting additional pressure on the already stretched NHS in Wales.

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