Nurses working within the NHS in Wales are set to receive a pay rise of at least 6.5%, spread over three years, after a deal was agreed between the Welsh Government, employers and unions.
The offer is similar to that made to NHS nurses working in England, who last month agreed to accept the 6.5% increase, but is below the 9% offered to nurses working in Scotland.
Like the deal for English nurses, there will also be a restructuring of pay bands and a reduction in the number of points within each band.
But the Welsh Government has claimed that, while the offer matches that of England, it ‘goes beyond it in some areas’, with Welsh staff to receive ‘better payments during sickness absence’ than their counterparts in England.
Yet band 5 nurses will be receiving some of the lowest increases under the terms of the new offer.
The starting salary for a band 5 nurse in Wales will increase from £22,129 to £23,023 in the first year, £24,214 in the second year, and £24,907 for the third year. This equates to a total change of 12.6% from year one to year three.
This is considerably less than the 18.1% and 22.7% that band 6 and 7 nurses will receive, respectively.
Only NHS staff in bands 1, 2, 8C and 8D will receive a smaller pay rise over the three year deal than band 5 staff.
The deal will now be put to union members to vote on whether they wish to accept or reject the terms, with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales ‘welcoming’ the deal.
In a statement, the RCN in Wales said: ‘The deal now needs to go through our RCN governance procedures and be put to members before it can be agreed. We will be working hard over the coming weeks to make sure our members have all the information they need to make an informed choice, but we believe that this is the best deal that we could do through negotiation.
‘If agreed the majority of NHS staff will receive a 6.5% increase over three years. There will also be restructuring of existing pay bands with a reduction in the number of pay points.’
The Welsh health secretary Vaughan Gething added that the Government have committed ‘extra funding in addition to the consequential funding’ from the UK Government via the Barnett formula.
He said: ‘After eight hard years of austerity, imposed by the UK Government, we have committed extra funding beyond the funding that we received following the pay rise in England, to offer a deal which is not only fair to staff and taxpayers but will also lead to a better NHS for Wales.’