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There is no more money to avoid nurses strike, Welsh Government says

07 Dec 2022 3 minute read
Eluned Morgan picture by Welsh Government.

There is no money to increase a pay offer to NHS staff in order to avert industrial action in Wales without UK Government intervention, the Welsh health minister has said.

Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Government health and social services minister, told the Senedd she was “saddened” by the prospect of industrial action but without investment from Westminster the pay offer could not be increased.

Nurses voted to strike after the Welsh Government offered them pay awards between 4% and 5.5%, well below the rate of inflation and the same as that by the UK Government in England.

“There is simply no money to increase our pay offer without substantial cuts to staffing and essential services,” Ms Morgan told Plenary.

“I’m meeting with representatives of all healthcare unions next week to explore if there is any possibility or alternative that might help us to avoid industrial action.”

Plaid Cymru MS Rhun ap Iorwerth said that while pay was central to the disputes in the Welsh NHS, he suggested health staff had not been supported by both Westminster and the Labour administration in Cardiff.

“Both the UK Conservative and Welsh Labour Governments have to take a long, hard look at themselves to realise that opportunities have been lost time and time again to show that support,” he said.

“I’m asking the Minister again: when is she going to negotiate? We have a Labour Government refusing to negotiate with trade unions.

“What we need to see is the opening of meaningful negotiations to try to avert the strikes.”

‘Cut the cloth’

In response, Ms Morgan said there was an independent pay commission which made recommendations for NHS staff.

“The fact is we’ve got a set amount of money. We’ve got a choice. You either cut services or you cut the number of people in order to give a pay rise,” she said.

“I think we’ve got to be absolutely clear here: there is no more money.

“I understand we’re in a different place because inflation is very, very different from what it’s been in the past.

“I completely understand why these workers are upset. It’s not just about one group of workers, this is about all of the workers in the NHS.”

Russell George, Welsh Conservative health spokesman, said the minister was seeking to blame Westminster rather than accept responsibility noted the Scottish Government had made a new offer.

“Frustratingly, you still point the finger to Westminster rather than take responsibility for your actions here,” he said.

“Now, this is your decision, they’re your responsibilities. You’ve got to cut the cloth here as you see fit here.

“We’ve got 3,000 nurse vacancies, and a spend on agency nurses of £140 million. Well, that’s due to your management of the NHS and your predecessors.

“You had an additional £1.2 billion in the autumn statement. Now, the Scottish Government have offered band 5 nurses an 8.7% pay award, which has paused strike action in Scotland.

“If the Scottish Government can get around the negotiation table and make an offer, why can’t you?”

Ms Morgan said the Scottish Government had a different system for making pay awards than Wales.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

The Baroness doing what she was hired for…”sorry Oliver, there are no seconds”…

Rob Pountney
Rob Pountney
1 month ago

There is another option, and that is to raise Welsh income tax…

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob Pountney

I read a research paper recently that stated, the welfare state has been on the decline inline with the decline of the empire, the figures do seem to correspond with the dates. The theory is that the taxes imposed on the far away lands and extractive nature of the empire enabled the UK to fund the welfare state exclusively in the UK, this includes the NHS, education etc, the taxes the UK workers paid were never enough to cover the cost, makes you wonder?

Cynan again
Cynan again
1 month ago

Well perhaps we could cut elsewhere. Government trips to the World Cup for example. Rent out Y Senedd as an air B’nB and move our government to one of the empty office blocks in Merthyr Tydfil maybe?

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan again

Now you are getting close to the point. Pet projects, although not on the UK scale for vanity spending, still lurk among the Bay Bubble’s budgets. Such funding could be redeployed into health, care, education. How much of Labour’s annual budget has virtue signals daubed all over it ? Much of that could no doubt be up for grabs if the ideological fantasies were dumped.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Just a thought…NHS in crises, two Privatizers in no 10 and 11 both with multiple previous, things are approaching a denouement…two years, that’s all we’ve got… we’ve got two years…

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I did comment yesterday that we’re witnessing the death throes of the NHS. It’s taken the tories 74 years, but it looks very much like they’re about to succeed.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago

Something that confuses me, why do they employ agency staff, I can understand the use of agency staff to cover sick and holiday leave, but why use them when there is a massive number of unfilled jobs in the health service, If an agency health worker is paid (for example) £30/hr, the health board will be paying at least double that figure to the agency, I wonder how many health board officials are involved with the employment agencies. The whole thing is a con and designed to collapse the NHS across the UK

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Russia Ukraine thing without any fight back, what’s on telly Brits watch country slide into Tory hell…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Has been so ever since, my partner is a retired nurse trained in the 80s, was a scandal then. They do not advertise posts or there are bans on external recruitment allowing only internal adverts for posts, keeping numbers level. She says a lot of the problems in the NHS have been solved time and again but there is massive resistance to change within the professions. Consultants and GPs – start there, then stir the pot with the money men and contracting. The introduction of the NHS Trusts was the end and all we are seeing is the gradual speeding… Read more »

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