Posted: Fri 25th Nov 2022

Updated: Fri 25th Nov

Nurses in Wales to strike on two dates in December amid ongoing pay dispute

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
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Nurses across Wales will hold industrial action on two separate days in December after calls for pay negotiations with the Welsh government were “met with silence”.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will take to the picket line on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December 2022.

The announcement comes after the governments in Wales, England and Northern Ireland turned down the RCN’s offer of formal, detailed negotiations as an alternative to strike action.

RCN Wales announced that nursing staff at all NHS employers across Wales had voted to take strike action over pay and patient safety,
however Aneurin Bevan University Health Board unfortunately did not meet the legal threshold.

An experienced nurse has seen their pay decline by at least 20% in real terms due to successive below-inflation awards since 2010.

In 2021/22, NHS Wales spent £133.4m on agency nursing, an increase of 41% on the previous year. This is equivalent to the salaries of 4,930 newly qualified nurses, RCN said.

RCN Wales Director, Helen Whyley, said: “Wales’s First Minister has had more than two weeks since we confirmed our historic result on the RCN’s statutory ballot for industrial action, where our members voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

“We have been met with silence. The Welsh government was allocated an extra £1.2bn in the Autumn Statement.

“RCN Wales has called for the Welsh government to enter meaningful conversations regarding nursing pay as a final chance for ministers to put a stop to the action that nursing staff feel they have no other option but to take. Still, we hear nothing.

“A debate was held in the Senedd last night to urge the Welsh government to use everything in their disposal to give nursing staff the
pay and recognition they deserve.

“Clearly the reality of strike action on the horizon is setting in for some ministers and the realisation of the profound effect this will have in Wales and across the UK. And yet, still nothing from the Welsh government.”

RCN Wales Board Chair, Richard Jones MBE, added: “We have given every opportunity to put a stop to what is a last resort for nursing staff, but the time has now come to stand up for our nurses who are pushed to their limits and patients who are suffering as a result
of lack of planning and investment in the workforce.

“This is the first time in the history of the RCN in Wales that nurses have decided to strike – what more is there to say?”

Responding to the announcement by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) on strike dates, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“Now that the NHS has the two dates in December for when the RCN intends to facilitate industrial action, health leaders will be reviewing their plans and waiting for confirmation on the specific organisations that will be affected.”

“Health leaders understand this may be an uncertain time for many people, including those who routinely rely on the NHS, and that these strikes are coming ahead of what tends to be the busiest time of the year for the service.”

“The expectation remains that as a minimum, urgent, emergency and critical care services will continue on strike days and should there be temporary changes to non-urgent aspects of care, such as check-ups and planned procedures, the NHS will make sure this is communicated in advance to patients, prioritising their safety at all times.”

“Health leaders also empathise with their workers who feel they have no choice but to go on strike, particularly as most of the other trade unions are heading towards the same outcome with their members.”

“This is not a decision that they will have taken lightly and to avoid a prolonged war of attrition, we hope there will be a negotiated resolution of the issues the trade unions have raised without delay.”

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