Industrial action ballot called in Wales following 'insulting' nurse pay … – Nursing Times

‘This is a situation that cannot go on indefinitely’
25 July, 2022 By
The Welsh Government has announced a £1,400 pay increase for nurses working in the NHS in Wales, in line with the award made in England and with the recommendations from the NHS Pay Review Body.
Disappointed with the deal, the Royal College of Nursing in Wales has described the award as “pitiful and insulting” and has given the greenlight for an industrial action ballot of its members – also following suit from its England branch.
“This is a slap in the face for a nursing workforce that is stressed, devalued, and exhausted”
Helen Whyley
It was confirmed on Friday that the Welsh Government had accepted the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendations and that nurses would be given a £1,400 uplift for 2022-23.For newly registered nurses at the start of Band 5, Nursing Times analysis suggests their pay would increase from £25,655 to £27,055 – just over 5%.
Meanwhile, for nurses at the start of Band 6, their pay will rise by just over 4%, from £32,306 to £33,706.
For staff at the top of Band 6 and in Band 7, the £1,400 payment will be enhanced to be equivalent to a 4% pay rise, the government confirmed.
The news came after the same deal was put forward by the Westminster Government for NHS nurses and colleagues in England on Tuesday.
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The increases announced in England and Wales are higher than the 3% budgeted for by the UK Government, meaning the extra money needs to be found from within existing NHS budgets.
Health minister for Wales Eluned Morgan said she hoped the award helped recognise the “hard work” of NHS staff, but stressed that “without additional funding from the UK Government, there are inevitably limits to how far we can go in Wales”.
She added: “We continue to press them to pass on the full funding necessary for fair pay rises for public sector workers.”

Eluned Morgan
Ms Morgan paid tribute to NHS staff who she said have “worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic to keep us all safe and they continue to provide an incredible service in the face of intense pressures”.
She also thanked trade unions and representative bodies for taking the time to meet with her this week and for the “constructive discussions” that were had.
However, Helen Whyley, director of RCN Wales, said: “Nurses will be outraged to hear the pay award is well below inflation yet again.”
She said the award would do “nothing” to address the more than 1,700 nurse vacancies in the Welsh NHS, and that it would fail to encourage nurses to stay or to inspire new individuals to join.
“Yet again this pitiful and insulting pay announcement does not even come close to making up for the fall in value of nursing pay, compared with a decade ago,” added Ms Whyley, who also warned of the award’s implications on patient care and safety.
“Nurses stay in the profession because they love their work,” she said.
“But this is a slap in the face for a nursing workforce that is stressed, devalued, and exhausted.
“Their continued goodwill to prop up the NHS isn’t just waning it is disappearing, and many are leaving the profession they love.”
Shortly after the government’s announcement, RCN Wales said it had made “a ground-breaking decision” to ballot members on industrial action, as is happening in England.
On Friday evening, Ms Whyley and RCN Wales board chair and RCN Council member for Wales, Richard Jones, emailed members stating that “nursing deserves better”.

Helen Whyley
“Tonight, an emergency session of your elected council voted that members in Wales will be balloted on industrial action,” they said.
Moving straight to an official ballot, as opposed to holding an indicative ballot to gauge opinions first, was something they said the college has “never done before”.
This means, if voted for and if it achieves the required 50% response rate, it could lead to industrial action including potentially strikes.
“This is truly a sign of the times that we have no other option for the sake of our health care services and our irreplaceable nursing work force in Wales,” the pair said.
“The voice of nursing will be essential to turning the tide on low pay.”
A similar ballot is also to be launched in England, as reported by Nursing Times last week.
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The RCN held indicative ballots following the 2021-22 pay deal, which although found support for industrial action, had response rates lower than that required for an official ballot.
The news in Wales comes as nurses in Northern Ireland continue to be left in limbo over pay.
The Northern Ireland health minister, Robin Swann, announced on Wednesday that while he accepts the pay review body’s recommendations, he is unable to move forward without an agreed budget due to political turmoil in the country.
Meanwhile, Scotland has broken away from the UK-wide process and has already offered a 5% pay award to its Agenda for Change staff, which is being considered by unions.
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