Nurse strikes due to take place in Wales next week have been called off in wake of a new “enhanced” pay offer from the Welsh Government.
The Royal College of Nursing said the revised deal would be put to a vote of members “within days”.
“The health minister should be under no illusion that we will not hesitate to return to strike action should the offer be rejected”
It is understood that nurses in England will go ahead with planned strike action on Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 February, but the prime minister has been told there is still time to “turn things around” before then.
The revised offer put forward by the Welsh Government comprises an additional 3% pay package and follows discussions with health unions this week.
The deal includes a 1.5% consolidated rise to be given on top of the 4-5% pay awards already implemented for 2022-23. This would be backdated to April 2022.
The other 1.5% of the package will be given as a one-off payment.
According to the Welsh Government, it is also offering “a number of non-pay commitments to enhance staff wellbeing, on which negotiations will continue next week”.
It was also agreed that if staff in England were to be offered an improved pay deal, any Barnett consequential would result in a further pay offer to NHS staff in Wales.
RCN Wales director, Helen Whyley, said previous strike action taken by nurses in the country had “clearly been effective”.
She said the Welsh Government had “listened to the issues facing nursing in Wales and put forward an increased offer for nurses pay back dated to April 2022 and thus avoided the strikes planned for next week”.
Elected members at RCN Wales had agreed strike action next week should be cancelled and that the offer should be put forward to members “for them to decide whether it truly respects and values the nursing profession”, explained Ms Whyley.
“The health minister should be under no illusion that we will not hesitate to return to strike action should the offer be rejected,” she added.
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said the college was still set to continue to escalate its strike action in England next week, with action at 73 NHS trusts, unless the prime minister started “talking seriously”.
“If the other governments can negotiate and find more money for this year, the prime minister can do the same,” she said.
“Rishi Sunak has no place left to hide. His unwillingness to help nursing is being exposed as a personal choice, not an economic necessity.”
The situation in Wales follows the pausing of strike action in Scotland amid fresh proposals from the Scottish Government, which include accelerated negotiations on the 2023-24 pay offer and an additional one-off payment for staff.
Ms Cullen added: “Again, we are making good on our commitment to cancel strikes when ministers negotiate and make pay offers to our members. First in Scotland and now in Wales too.
“If the prime minister decides to leave England’s nurses as the lowest paid in the UK, he must expect this strike to continue.
“He can still turn things around before Monday – start talking seriously and the strikes are off.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We would like to thank those that have participated in the negotiations for their positive engagement and goodwill.”
They added they were “hopeful” that planned industrial action for Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 would be postponed to allow trade unions “to discuss the proposals further with their members”.
It has also been confirmed that ambulance workers with the GMB union will also no longer be taking strike action next week in Wales.
Nathan Holman, GMB Welsh NHS lead, said: “After intense negotiations, GMB has agreed to suspend strike action while further talks take place.
“We recognise that the Welsh Government and Welsh Ambulance have made concessions and, through social partnership, we appreciate the frank and open dialogue with them over the last few months.
“This has only been made possible because the Welsh Government has been prepared to talk about pay – a lesson for those in charge on the other side of the Severn Bridge.”