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Nurses in Wales handed living wage increase but no 1% pay rise for all

Nurses in Wales will not get the blanket 1% pay rise recommended by the pay review body, it was revealed yesterday.

However, under the long-awaited pay deal set out by the Welsh government, all NHS staff will earn at least the living wage of £7.65 per hour from September.

“This decision will be a deep disappointment to midwives and maternity support workers in Wales”

Jon Skewes

The change means about 2,400 of the lowest paid employees will get an increase of up to £470 in some cases.

Very senior managers will not get a pay rise. Meanwhile, all nursing staff on Agenda for Change contracts will get a one-off payment of £160 while those not yet at the top of their pay bands will still get an incremental pay rise when it is due.

Health minister Mark Drakeford said he had “no choice but to consider some form of pay restraint” in order to maintain jobs and services.

But he said the deal meant more than nine out of 10 NHS staff would get a pay award in 2014-15.

Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford

“It has been my intention that this should be implemented as fairly as possible and benefit as many staff as possible,” he said in a statement announcing the deal on Wednesday.

The Royal College of Nursing in Wales said it was disappointed the Welsh government had decided not to give all nurses a 1% pay rise.

However, David Wallace, RCN associate director for employment relations, said there were some “positives”, including the living wage pledge – something the college had been pushing for.

“There are some positives that we can take from this announcement – the fact that in the pay award there is something for everyone, whether that be incremental progression or pay rise,” he said.

“However, we are disappointed that the decision has not met the full recommendation of the pay body that nurses should receive a 1% pay increase,” he added.

“We will be considering the detail of the announcement with our members in the very near future.”

Jon Skewes, director for employment relations at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This decision will be a deep disappointment to midwives and maternity support workers in Wales.

“It falls significantly short of the 1% increase recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body. Indeed this will mean for many midwives a fall in income as the cost of living rises and as pension contributions also have risen,” he said.

He added: “We will be consulting our members in Wales on this issue to canvass their opinions and look at the next possible steps to take.”

The Scottish government is the only UK government so far to accept the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body to award all staff a 1% consolidated increase.

The Northern Ireland government has yet to announce its arrangements.

Meanwhile, the decision taken by ministers in England to award the 1% increase only to those at the top of pay bands has sparked widespread fury among nurses and prompted healthcare unions Unite and Unison to consult their members about strike action.

For the first time the Royal College of Midwives consulted its members on industrial action over pay with an overwhelming majority indicating they were in favour of action of “some kind”.

However, the RCN has said it is not planning to ballot its members on strike action, instead opting to fight the pay decision “politically” by lobbying MPs and staging protests.

Readers' comments (5)

  • I have no problem with the awards in Wales - especially the living wage, but what about those of us with many years service who reached the top of our Band under AfC a long while ago? No incremental rise is possible for us - and we haven't had one for several years. £160 for everyone - good, but it won't touch the increases in my bills over the last 3 years.

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  • I totally agree with the last comment , there are many of us at the top of our band , it is becoming more and more difficult with the cost of living rising . If the government expect us to continue to improve on our knowledge and skills performance then they need to look at the agenda for change scales and they way they are interpreted , I often find myself teaching other staff who are on a higher band than myself . the reason for this being academic qualification , its no good without the common sense to put this knowledge into action .

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  • How is it fair that Scotland and Wales agree 1% but England doesn't?

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  • ...and of course, pensions will be less too, with pay having fallen behind over these last few years.

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  • not voting for blues or yellows, working to rule, supporting those who do go on strike (wont any nurses unions go on strike?) and getting everyone else to do likewise.

    when patients care suffer though lack of staff and resources, people are quick enough to complain, except to do what needs to be done.

    We'll end up going to foodbanks at this rate.

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