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More strikes expected after Welsh Government payment offer “falls short”

THE WELSH Government’s offer of a one-time payment to NHS employees “falls far short of what our members need,” according to a union. 

Eluned Morgan, the Minister of Health, met with health union representatives this afternoon in an attempt to prevent more industrial action and to address workers’ concerns. 

It comes after First Minister Mark Drakeford indicated that the Welsh Government was thinking about making a one-time payment to NHS employees. According to Unite the Union, today’s talks did not go far enough to put an end to further strikes. ‌  ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Welsh government’s offer falls far short of what our members need and what is fair pay after a decade and more of pay cuts. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“Unless they can move further, the strikes by ambulance workers on 19 and 23 January will go ahead. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“Our members in Wales have the unflinching support of their union in their fight for a fair wage.” ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

Richard Munn, Unite Wales Regional Officer said: “Unite appreciates that Welsh Government are trying to find a way to resolve the current industrial disputes within our Welsh NHS, however our members have been crystal clear that they want an increase to their salaries and not just a one off payment. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“We will consult with our members on Welsh Government’s proposals once we have something concrete to consult on but we do not believe that it will meet their aspirations. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“Without a decent consolidated pay increase, staff shortages will continue to wreak havoc within our Welsh NHS. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“We are therefore calling on both the UK Government and Welsh Government to fully appreciate the long term positive consequences of a salary increase and properly fund such a pay rise”. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have said that discussions over holding further industrial action will take place off of the back of this afternoon’s meeting. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

RCN Wales Director, Helen Whyley, said: “RCN Wales attended a meeting today with the Minister for Health and Social Services, at the Minister’s request. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“While we were told it would explore ways of coming to a negotiated agreement on the 2022/23 NHS pay award, we are still no further forward. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“Yet again, the Welsh Government has blamed the UK Government’s lack of additional funding for public services rather than taking responsibility to invest in Welsh nurses delivering Welsh NHS services for Welsh people. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“Welsh Government continue to fail dismally to resolve the RCN’s pay dispute and to address the extensive and unsustainable nursing staffing crisis in the NHS. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“The approach put forward today is simply not enough to offer a substantiative and restorative pay award to our members, which is what we have called for all along. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“From the perspective of nursing staff, the Welsh Government are not negotiating seriously on NHS pay. Unless they do so urgently, we will be announcing further strike days for Wales, imminently.” ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “I want to thank all the health unions for attending today’s meeting and for engaging in the discussion constructively. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“We recognise and respect the strength of feeling among the membership of the unions, which has been expressed through the recent ballots for industrial action and the strikes. ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

“I hope we can continue these discussions in the spirit of social partnership.” ‌ ‌ ‌   ‍‌ ‌  ‌‌‌‍‌ ‌‌  ‌ ‍‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌‍‌ ‌‌‌‌  

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