This site is intended for health professionals only

NHS nurses in Wales strike again to ‘shake’ government into action on pay

NHS nurses in Wales strike again to ‘shake’ government into action on pay

NHS nurses in Wales will stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ on the picket lines today as a dispute with the government over pay continues.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Wales, which has organised strike action for today and tomorrow, has warned that unless the government acts to resolve the row, members will return to the picket lines once again in July.

The latest nursing strikes in Wales come after a majority of eligible RCN members voted to reject the latest Welsh Government pay offer for NHS staff.

RCN Wales director Helen Whyley had written to health minister Eluned Morgan to re-open pay negotiations, but has so far received no response.

Eligible RCN Wales members will therefore take 12 hours of strike action on 6 and 7 June, from 7am to 7pm.

NHS nurses in Wales had already taken to the picket lines late last year as part of the pay row, and later saw an improved deal put forward by the government.

Last month, the Welsh Government announced a two-year pay deal was to be implemented, despite the RCN’s rejection and the threat of further nurse strikes.

For 2022/23 the deal consists of a 1.5% consolidated increase and a 1.5% one-off payment – both of which have already been implemented – as well as a new and further one-off ‘recovery payment’ which, on average, equates to 3%.

Meanwhile, for 2023/24, there will be a 5% consolidated increase, with effect from April 2023. There was also a list of non-pay elements, such as career progression and the implementation of a nurse retention plan, put forward as part of the offer.

The move from the government came after, as a collective, NHS trade unions in Wales voted to accept the deal – minus the RCN Wales and the Society of Radiographers.

Speaking ahead of fresh strike action commencing at 7am today, RCN Wales director Ms Whyley, said: ‘Until the minister for health and social services re-opens meaningful negotiations to try to resolve our dispute, we will, once again, stand shoulder to shoulder on the picket lines across Wales.’

She added: ‘If two consecutive days of strike action still does not shake the Welsh Government to listen to the voice of nursing in Wales and take actions to resolve our dispute, we will return to the picket lines once again in July.’

Nursing staff were ‘looking for a fair settlement that shows the government values and understands their profession now and into the future’, said Ms Whyley. ‘I would remind the minister that it is entirely in her gift,’ she added.

The Welsh Government must ‘heed our concerns’ about patient safety, wellbeing and the future of the nursing profession, stressed the RCN Wales director.

RCN Wales will also open a new statutory industrial action ballot for more strike action next month. If eligible members vote in favour, the college will have a mandate to conduct strikes for a further six months in Wales. A similar ballot is currently running in England.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said they recognised the ‘strength of feeling among members’ but were ‘disappointed’ strike action was continuing despite the collective acceptance of the deal.

‘We are working with the NHS, unions and partners to ensure life-saving and life-maintaining care is provided during the industrial action, patient safety is maintained and disruption is minimised,’ the spokesperson added.


See how our symptom tool can help you make better sense of patient presentations
Click here to search a symptom