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Nurses in Wales “left with no choice” as more strike dates announced

IF pay agreement negotiations don’t go any further in February, nurses across Wales will engage in additional strike action. ‌‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It comes after unions criticised the Welsh government’s one-time payment proposal as falling short of what NHS workers need and deserve. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Following a meeting between health unions and Minister Eluned last week, there have been threats of future strikes and accusations that the Welsh government is “not bargaining seriously” on pay. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

If no progress in discussions has been made by the end of the month, the Royal College of Nursing in Wales (RCN) has declared more strike action will take place for 12 hours on both the 6th and 7th of February. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Welsh government has been requested by RCN Wales to find a solution to our disagreement on safe staffing levels and NHS pay for this fiscal year 2022–2023, and now the Welsh government has said that it will escalate the situation even further. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Because of a series of below-inflation pay awards since 2010, which has led to more than 3000 registered nurse vacancies in the NHS in Wales, the RCN claims that the value of salaries for experienced nurses today is 20% lower in real terms. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Helen Whyley, director of RCN Wales, expressed her hope that the Welsh Government would alter its strategy and return to the negotiating table in order to seriously discuss NHS pay with the RCN and present a substantial and compensatory pay award. This has not occurred thus far. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Their offer of a non-consolidated one-off payment, funded by monies ‘found down the back of the sofa’ shows the Welsh Government’s disrespect for the crisis in the nursing workforce and a lack of a real commitment to want to address it. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“RCN Wales members have been left without a choice, we will be taking strike action on February 6 and 7. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Nursing staff are striking for patient safety, for the future of nursing, and to save the NHS in Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We stand beside our members in their call to our government here in Wales for fair pay. Enough really is enough.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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