NHS nursing staff in Wales can now vote to accept of reject a fresh package of non-pay offers from the Welsh Government.
The Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) ballot opened on Monday and a Q&A session will be held for members this evening at 6pm.
As well as reading the latest offer – which includes measures to improve pay for bank shifts, career progression and flexible working – the RCN is urging members to consider what the pay package already includes.
For 2022/23, NHS nurses in Wales were given a 1.5% consolidated pay increase and a 1.5% non-consolidated uplift, as well as a further one-off payment averaging 3%.
Meanwhile, a 5% consolidated increase for 2023/24 was also awarded.
While the RCN has not made a recommendation on how members should vote in this ballot, it highlighted that this was an ‘offer in principle’ – meaning it will only be implemented if members accept it.
If members do vote to accept, the current dispute between the RCN and Welsh Government will be resolved, and the college will turn its focus to ‘securing the best possible NHS pay award for 2024/25’.
The latest offer follows the threat of further strike action by NHS nurses in Wales, which was recently cancelled after the Welsh Government agreed to further negotiations.
RCN Wales director Helen Whyley said: ‘This ballot is a critical point in our campaign for the fair pay and conditions members deserve.
‘Thanks to their efforts, we’ve been able to bring the Welsh Government back to the table for a third time and improve on the pay deal for both 2022/23 and 2023/24 yet again.’
She encouraged members to ‘make an informed decision based on their own circumstances, and whether they believe this improved offer will ease the pressures they face in their working lives’.
‘The elements improved upon in this offer aim to address nursing staff’s wellbeing, work-life balance, pay for bank shifts, career progression and much more,’ said Ms Whyley.
She added: ‘I want to stress the importance of voting either way in this ballot; a vote not used is a vote wasted and a voice not heard.
‘I strongly encourage members to vote as soon as they receive their ballot and use all the resources available to reach a decision.’
Members can cast their votes online until the ballot closes at 12noon on 31 August.