Nurses in Wales are expecting the Welsh Government to make a final pay offer for NHS staff next week, according to the Royal College of Nursing.
This comes after months of talks between the Welsh Government and health unions, and follows a recently improved pay deal for NHS staff in the country.
In a message to members, RCN Wales director Helen Whyley, said she acknowledged that members ‘must be frustrated that the pay negotiations have not yet concluded’, but added that ‘the lengthy and intense negotiations have made significant progress’. She also noted that work would continue over the Easter period.
Ms Whyley added: ‘RCN Wales understands from the Welsh Government that they will make their final offer in the week commencing 17 April 2023.’
She explained that once the RCN Wales board had seen the details, members ‘will have a vote to accept or reject the offer’.
The dispute saw members of RCN Wales take strike action in December last year over the 2022-23 pay deal, in which NHS nurses in the country were given a 4.75% pay rise.
An improved pay deal, consisting of a 1.5% consolidated increase and a 1.5% one-off bonus, was then implemented by the Welsh Government earlier this year, after the majority of unions accepted the deal in a ballot.
Members of the RCN however, rejected the deal and the college has continued to oppose the pay offer since.
The Welsh Government has refused to comment further on the possibility of a pay deal or the RCN’s announcement that an offer is imminent.
However, a spokesperson for the government said that a statement made by Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan in February remained its position.
Within this statement, which was issued when the improved 2022/23 pay deal was imposed, Ms Morgan agreed to ‘continue to work together in partnership’ with unions to implement the offer.
In addition, she said ‘immediate discussions’ on ‘next steps’ would begin, including ‘continued meaningful conversations on the nature of the pay award for [2023/24] and additional non pay elements to improve the conditions and well-being for our NHS staff’.
Ms Morgan also reiterated that if any new pay increase was agreed in England, resulting in additional money for Wales through the Barnett consequential, this would ‘be passed on to NHS staff in Wales’.
The news comes as NHS nurses in England continue to cast their votes in health union ballots on a new pay offer from the government.