‘Shocking’ that Labour are attacking Tories over nurses’ strike while doing same in Wales – Price
It’s “shocking” that Labour are attacking the Conservatives at Westminster for not talking to unions over nurses’ pay while doing the same in Wales, the leader of Plaid Cymru has said.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions Adam Price said that it showed that Labour were “not prepared to actually practice what you preach in terms of your own values”.
Nursing strikes are set to go ahead in Wales in the run-up to Christmas after last-minute talks to resolve the dispute over pay collapsed.
The Welsh Government have said that without additional funding from the UK Government they were not able to make an increased pay offer without risking a reduction in services.
But Adam Price said that if they were willing to meet with unions to discuss pay rises they could avert the strikes.
“I think it’s astonishing that you’re attacking the Tories in Westminster when you’re doing exactly the same in Wales in refusing to talk about pay to the unions,” he said.
“I just disagree philosophically with the First Minister: I do not see that actually investing in better pay and conditions for the workforce is actually diverting money out of the NHS.
“It’s investing in the long-term, sustainable future of the NHS, because without those nurses, those doctors and NHS staff, what future is there for the service at all?”
Mark Drakeford said that it was not in the NHS’ best interests to take money out of it and divert it to nurses’ pay.
“The difference between us is not philosophical at all—it’s simply practical,” he said.
“He wants to take £120 million out of activity that the NHS in Wales is committed to undertake, and would use that money to pay people. That’s a practical choice; our choice has had to be different because we see the enormous pressures that the NHS faces every single day.
“Now, I repeat what I said: all disputes in the end by negotiation. I urge the Westminster Government to negotiate in a way that allows us in Wales to be able to do what we would wish to do, and that is to make sure that the people who carry out those front-line services, the things we rely on all the time, are properly rewarded for their service.
“We’ve had it dreamed up on both sides of the Chamber this afternoon, magical solutions that say that somehow we are in a position in Wales to do something unique that isn’t available across the border.”
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Paying health workers better would keep more of those staff in the NHS. This, in turn would prevent the need for agency staffing, reducing costs dramatically.
No politician, red, blue, green or yellow can run the health service properly. Shame that all we get is confrontation politics.