NHS nurses in Wales are to be given an additional 3% pay increase for 2022-23 after trade unions, as a collective, “narrowly” accepted the enhanced offer from the Welsh Government.
This is despite nursing staff members of the Royal College of Nursing “overwhelmingly” voting to reject the deal.
“Whilst we are pleased that the offer has been accepted, we recognise the strength of feeling amongst [unions]”
Health unions in Wales have collectively voted to accept the final NHS pay offer from the Welsh Government, but some individual unions remain opposed.
The offer, which the government has said is the maximum it can afford, comprises a 1.5% consolidated annual salary increase and a 1.5% one-off payment, and is on top of the 4-5% already implemented.
Health minister Eluned Morgan said she would now work with unions to implement the deal, while continuing with “meaningful conversations” regarding the pay award for 2023-24 and non-pay measures to help improve working conditions and staff wellbeing.
However, she acknowledged the enhanced pay offer had been only “narrowly accepted”.
“Whilst we are pleased that the offer has been accepted, we recognise the strength of feeling amongst [unions],” said Ms Morgan.
It was revealed last night that members of the RCN had voted to reject the offer in a consultative ballot, with the college warning strikes could be on the cards once again.
The college also voted to reject the deal as part of a collective vote of all health unions in Wales earlier this week and has said it remains in dispute with the government.
RCN Wales has since written to the health minister calling for negotiations to recommence and has warned that unless it receives a response by close of play on Tuesday 7 March, it will announce new strike dates.
It is also understood that GMB voted to reject the deal during the collective health union’s vote.
Separately, members of the Royal College of Midwives had also voted to reject the deal in a recent online ballot.
Just under a third (32%) of eligible RCM members voted and 82% rejected the pay offer.
However, despite this, the RCM voted to accept the deal as part of the collective health union’s vote.
Meanwhile, a ballot of members of Unison Wales saw 61% vote in favour of the additional pay award and subsequently the union voted to accept the deal during the health unions’ vote.
Dominic MacAskill, regional secretary of Union Wales, said the “majority” of members across all health boards in the country were “prepared to accept the latest pay award”.
However, he warned that should the offer from the Welsh Government not materialise, it would consider strike action.
In a statement on Tuesday evening, health minister Ms Morgan said she would provide updates on “further talks” with unions and on the implementation of the enhanced pay offer in due course.
She also reiterated that should conversations in England, currently being held between the RCN and Westminster, result in an additional offer for NHS staff there, subsequent extra funding for Wales would “of course be passed on to NHS staff in Wales”.