Nurses to strike for ‘fair pay’ at all but one of Wales’ health boards
Nursing staff at the majority of NHS employers across Wales and the UK as a whole have voted to strike over pay.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said industrial action will take place in the NHS trusts or health boards – including all other than Aneurin Bevan in Wales – that have met the legal requirements.
This is the first statutory ballot on industrial action across the UK in the 106-year history of the RCN.
Industrial action is expected to begin before the end of this year and the RCN’s mandate to organise strikes runs until early May 2023, six months after members finished voting.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “Plaid Cymru is on the side of all workers fighting for fair pay and safe working conditions. We can’t expect the kind of ongoing commitment that nurses give to their work and to patients, without ensuring they’re properly and fairly rewarded.
“No-one wants industrial action if there was any other option – and that includes the nurses themselves, more than anyone – but the fact the ballot took place in the first place indicates the strength of feeling. Plaid Cymru stands with the RCN and their members as they fight for the pay, working conditions and recognition they deserve.”
‘Clapping isn’t enough’
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “The Welsh Liberal Democrats support the RCN in their actions announced today. Our nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system. It is not acceptable they have been offered a below-inflation pay rise.
“This is the first statutory ballot in the RCN’s history, no-one wants to see strikes in healthcare take place, but the economic situation, largely caused by the incompetence of the UK Conservative Government, has left our hardworking staff with little option.
“We rightly clapped for our nurses during Covid, but clapping isn’t enough. When we have nurses using food banks the system clearly isn’t working and we must do better.
“Both Labour in Cardiff Bay and the Conservatives in Westminster need to get their heads together and ensure healthcare staff can be paid at a fair rate. I will continue to call on Labour to negotiate with the RCN.”
‘Anger has become action’
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “Anger has become action – our members are saying enough is enough. The voice of nursing in the UK is strong and I will make sure it is heard. Our members will no longer tolerate a financial knife-edge at home and a raw deal at work.
“Ministers must look in the mirror and ask how long they will put nursing staff through this. While we plan our strike action, next week’s Budget is the UK Government’s opportunity to signal a new direction with serious investment. Across the country, politicians have the power to stop this now and at any point.
“This action will be as much for patients as it is for nurses. Standards are falling too low and we have strong public backing for our campaign to raise them. This winter, we are asking the public to show nursing staff you are with us.”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay described the results of the ballot as “disappointing”.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.