Minister urges the UK Government to follow Wales with new pay offer for NHS workers
Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan has encouraged the UK Government to sit down to “talk and listen” with unions after strikes by NHS workers in Wales were largely suspended thanks to a new pay offer tabled on Friday.
Asked if she hoped that the suspension of industrial action by unions was the “light at the end of the tunnel” for strike action by NHS workers in Wales, she said: “I do hope so, but obviously the final decision will be by the members of these unions. But I think what’s important is that they understand that this is the only deal in town.
“The end of the financial year is coming very soon, and obviously the money disappears at the end of the financial year so that there is an issue for people to consider there.
“So I do hope that people recognise that we’ve worked really hard on this, that we are restricted in how much we can offer because of the money we get from the UK Government.
“And I do think that there’s a lesson here for the UK Government – UK Government needs to understand that in order to get any kind of deal you need to sit down you need to talk and you need to listen.
“They’re not doing any of that, and I would encourage them to do that.”
Following the latest round of talks with the unions last week, the Welsh Government offered NHS workers an additional 3% pay increase, of which 1.5% is consolidated so will be in pay packets year-on-year, on top of the Pay Review Body recommendations, which have already been implemented in this year.
The offer will also be backdated to April 2022 and if a pay deal is agreed for NHS staff in England, any resulting Barnett consequential would result in a further pay increase for staff in Wales.
Welsh ministers also made a number of commitments to enhance staff well-being, on which negotiations will continue this week.
The NHS is expecting major upheaval across England this week as nurses from the RCN stage walk-outs alongside GMB and Unite paramedics, call handlers and other staff at ambulance trusts.
It is the first-time ambulance workers and nurses have walked out on the same day.
Nurses will strike again on Tuesday, ambulance workers again on Friday and physiotherapists on Thursday.
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