A new NHS pay offer in Wales is expected to be put forward from the government in the week commencing 17 April, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced.
Talks have been talking place between the Welsh Government and health unions in the country since the start of March.
Nursing Times reported earlier this week that nurses in Wales were feeling frustrated about the lack of updates, a month into the discussions.
In a message to members today, RCN Wales director Helen Whyley reassured that “significant progress” was being made and that a final offer from the Welsh Government was expected in the week commencing 17 April.
She said: “I realise that you must be frustrated that the pay negotiations have not yet concluded, and I want to thank you for your patience whilst we get the best offer that we can for you.”
RCN members went on strike in Wales in December as part of the dispute over the 2022-23 NHS pay deal, which provided an average 4.75% wage boost for Agenda for Change staff in the country.
The Welsh Government more recently agreed to improve the deal with an additional 1.5% consolidated increase, as well as a 1.5% one-off bonus.
The new offer was imposed after it was accepted by the majority of unions in a ballot.
However, RCN Wales was among the unions whose members rejected the deal, and as such the college continued to oppose it.
Fresh talks got underway between the Welsh Government, RCN Wales and other health unions in the country at the start of March.
However, the scope of what the negotiations are covering has remained unclear.
In her statement today, Ms Whyley said: “The lengthy and intense negotiations have made significant progress to date and work will continue over the Easter period.
“RCN Wales understands from the Welsh Government that they will make their final offer in the week commencing 17 April 2023.”
If an offer is put forward in the week suggested by RCN Wales, it will be while the Welsh parliament is still on Easter recess, which runs from 3 April to 23 April.
Ms Whyley said RCN Wales would put the offer out to a vote with its members.
The Welsh Government declined to comment on the update from RCN Wales.
However, a spokesperson said a statement made by Wales health minister Eluned Morgan on 28 February – when the revised 2022-23 deal was imposed – remained its position.
In the statement, Ms Morgan said: “Whilst we are pleased that the offer has been accepted, we recognise the strength of feeling amongst members.
“We will continue to work together in partnership to work through the implementation of this offer, and also to begin immediate discussions on next steps including continued meaningful conversations on the nature of the pay award for 2023-24 and additional non-pay elements to improve the conditions and wellbeing for our NHS staff.”
Ms Morgan added that if a new deal was agreed in England, and this resulted in additional money coming to Wales through the Barnett consequentials, then this would “of course be passed on to NHS staff in Wales”.
NHS unions in England are currently balloting their members on a deal that is covering both 2022-23 and 2023-24.