Posted: Thu 14th Oct 2021

Updated: Thu 14th Oct

RCN Wales launches ‘trade dispute’ with Welsh government over 3% pay deal for nurses

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A nurses’ trade union has lodged a formal trade dispute with the Welsh government over a 3% pay award.

The Royal College of Nursing Wales (RCN) says the 3% pay rise proposed by the Welsh government “does not align with rising inflation and living costs in Wales.”

The RCN says “it is nothing short of an insult to the 12.5% that our Welsh members called for.”

A trade dispute is a dispute between an employer (or government minister) and workers in connection with their terms and conditions.

The move edges nurses further towards industrial action over pay.

RCN Wales Director Helen Whyley said: “Safe and effective care for patients must be a priority for the Welsh government.”

“Despite the First Minister announcing £991m of extra funding available for health care this year, none of it has been earmarked for nurses’ pay.”

“Patients are waiting for treatment and care and nursing staff are needed to deliver that. There are over 1,700 vacancies for registered nurses in NHS Wales and the Welsh government needs to address this.”

“Moreover, the opening of a formal trade dispute warns the Welsh government that if it will not open pay negotiations to increase the percentage of the pay award, RCN Wales will begin proceedings for an indicative ballot of its membership on industrial action.

“For the past 18 months nursing staff have gone above and beyond in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic but now they feel undervalued, disenfranchised and angry. That’s why 94% voted that a 3% pay rise is totally unacceptable.”

Plaid Cymru Spokesperson for Health and Care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said, “Plaid Cymru supports nurses and their call for fair play.”

“Welsh Government must now come to the table with an offer that recognises the need to reward them properly for their work.”

“Healthcare workers have made huge sacrifices throughout the pandemic, putting themselves in harm’s way to protect patients and even spending days if not weeks away from their families in order to carry out their work.”

“The 3% pay rise is a real-terms decrease in pay, since it doesn’t even match inflation.”

“If Welsh Government wants to show their gratitude to the NHS staff in Wales, they must guarantee fair pay for all healthcare workers, they must provide meaningful support to make this an attractive career option for more people, and they must put in place a robust retention strategy.”

“NHS staff deserve a real-terms pay rise above that proposed by the NHS pay review body. Anything less will fall short of giving some of our most critical workers the recognition they have earned during what will have been some of the toughest months of their professional lives.”

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