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Welsh nurses celebrate pay deal

Nurses in Wales are celebrating after the Assembly government announced they will get a one-off pay rise of 2.5% instead of the controversial staged increase.

The decision brings Wales in line with Scotland, which also rejected the offer of a 1.5% rise in April followed by a 1% rise in November.

But nurses in England and Northern Ireland will still receive the award in increments, a move the Royal College of Nursing has called "unfair".

And in a further victory for Wales's healthcare workers, the country's health minister Edwina Hart said the full increase will be backdated to 1 April.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said Welsh decisions are a devolved matter for the Assembly, "reflecting their own regional issues".

The decision comes a week before the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) sends members an indicative ballot on taking industrial action.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: "It is very regrettable that the government in England and Northern Ireland still plans to impose this award in stages. This is unfair and it is undeserved.

"England and Northern Ireland must act now to demonstrate that they value our nursing workforce and their dedication and hard work."

RCN Wales director Tina Donnelly said: "This gives us renewed confidence that the Welsh government values nurses and has been listening to RCN Wales.

"Pay levels are fundamental to the ability of our health service to recruit and retain the skilled nurses needed to deliver quality patient care."

Royal College of Nursing

Department of Health

Related story: Nurses "should join NHS pension scheme"

Watch video: Richard Jones, deputy RCN director, Wales, on Agenda for Change and NHS pension scheme agreements

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