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Welsh NHS workers vote for strike action over 1% pay deal

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Nurses and other NHS workers in Wales from Unison have voted to go on strike, after the Welsh Government rejected a blanket 1% increase in salaries for all staff.

The union’s members voted “overwhelmingly” in support of action, with 77% of the 5,715 turnout agreeing to a strike.

In addition, 90% voted in favour of action short of strike action in the ballot, which closed yesterday. The vote follows similar ballot results in England.

“It is time for the Welsh Government to come to the table and negotiate a fair pay deal for our members”

Margaret Thomas

In July, Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford refused the 1% pay increase for all workers recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body.

Instead, he said that all NHS staff would earn at least the living wage of £7.65 per hour from September, meaning thousands of lowest paid staff would see an increase in their wages.

He also announced that all nursing staff on Agenda for Change contracts would get a one-off payment of £160.

Those not yet at the top of their pay bands would still be able to receive an incremental pay rise, he said.

Meanwhile, very senior managers would not get a pay increase.

Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford

Margaret Thomas, regional secretary for Unison Wales, said: “Our members working in the Welsh NHS have sent a clear message that they are worth more than a miserly £160. 

“NHS workers in Wales have spoken loud and clear and it is time for the Welsh Government to come to the table and negotiate a fair pay deal for our members.”

She added: “Health workers have seen their pay drop by as much as 10% since 2010, and yet these same workers subsidise the government every week by working thousands of hours of unpaid overtime.”

Last week, NHS workers in England, including nurses and midwives, went on a four-hour strike over the refused 1% pay increase, followed by working to rule for the rest of the week.

The protest marked the first time that Royal College of Midwifery members had been on strike in the union’s 133-year history.

Unison said it will consider the ballot result from its Welsh members and discuss how potential action could be coordinated with future action taken on pay in England.

 

Ballot results in detail

Number of votes cast: 5,715

Number answering “yes” to “are you prepared to take part in a strike?”: 4,285 (77.1%)

Number answering “no” to “are you prepared to take part in a strike?”: 1,275 (22.9%)

Number of spoiled voting papers: 155

Number answering “yes” to “are you prepared to take part in action short of a strike?”: 4,834 (90.4%)

Number answering “no” to “are you prepared to take part in action short of a strike?” : 516 (9.6%)

Number of spoiled voting papers: 365

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Readers' comments (1)

  • As a nurse working in America, we've had to fight for wage increases commeasurate with our skill and education. I see that it is no different in the UK. I am appalled at how nurses are treated in general. Why is nursing as a profession so disrespected and devalued? The decision makers at the NHS would do well to go the bedside and see what nurses are managing on a daily basis. I've often heard people say that they have a whole new respect for nurses after being a patient or having a very ill loved one that needs nursing care. Nurses need to stay strong; the health of whole populations depends on nurses.

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