Three unions representing nurses and midwives in Wales have voted to accept the Welsh Government’s latest pay offer for NHS workers.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Unison and GMB all had clear majorities accepting the deal, which covers 2023-24 and 2022-23.
In contrast, earlier this month, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced that its members in Wales had rejected the offer and would be taking part in further strikes.
The deals includes a 5% consolidated increase across Agenda for Change (AfC) pay bands for 2023-24, elevated to 8% for the people on the lowest bands.
It also would provide AfC staff with an additional one-off NHS recovery payment for 2022-23 amounting to an average of 3%.
Unions have been balloting their members on the offer.
Announcing their results this week, GMB said 65% of its members accepted the deal with a turnout of 60%, and 67% of RCM members voted to accept it, with a turnout of 54%.
Meanwhile, on Friday last week, Unison Wales declared that the offer had been accepted by 78% of its members who voted.
Julie Richards, RCM director for Wales, said: “It is [our members’] strength and conviction, and those of other union members, that brought the government to the table and resulted in this deal.
“This was an offer that delivered a much-improved pay award. It will also tackle many of the other issues of concern to our members because this was not just about pay.
“It was also about improving the conditions that midwives, MSWs, and their colleagues work in, and most importantly, about making care better for women.”
As well as the promises about pay, the Welsh Government – as part of the same deal – has pledged to address working hours, overtime pay, flexible working and the use of agency staff in the NHS.
“This was an offer that delivered a much-improved pay award”
The deal also promises to look into restoring pay to 2008 levels, which would include lobbying the UK Government to improve the national Agenda for Change pay bandings.
Ms Richards added: “We will be holding the Welsh Government to account on these promises on pay and other areas.
“I now look forward to working with them to make our maternity services the best they possibly can be, for women, and the hardworking professionals running them 24/7, every day of the year.
“This is not the end of a process; it is a milestone on a long road and gives us a firm base on which to now look to the future.”
Nathan Holman, GMB Wales NHS lead officer, added: “GMB members have voted to accept the offer – however we recognise many of our members are not happy with the deal.
“We will continue to hold the Welsh Government to account by pushing for restorative pay increases.
“It is vital that we bring our members’ pay back up to the levels they would have received had we not had the years of pay freezes.
“GMB union will now meet with Welsh Government and NHS Employers to progress and implement the non-pay elements of this deal.”
Unison Wales head of bargaining and campaigns Jess Turner said: “This acceptance might end Unison’s NHS dispute, but it doesn’t solve the significant workforce issues facing the health service.
“The most pressing is tackling the growing staffing emergency and health worker burnout.”
Unions will meet later this month to discuss whether they will, as a collective group, accept the Welsh Government’s offer.
Meanwhile, after its members voted to reject the deal, the RCN in Wales has scheduled new strike dates for 6 and 7 June, as well as 12 and 13 July.
Last week, RCN Wales director Helen Whyley asked the Welsh Government to “immediately” re-opoen pay negotiations.