Unions say 3% pay rise for NHS Wales staff is 'bitterly disappointing'

The 3% rise in pay will apply retrospectively from April. Credit: PA Images

Some unions have described a 3% pay rise for NHS staff agreed by the Welsh Government as "bitterly disappointing".

The Welsh Government say Health Minister Eluned Morgan accepted the recommendations of the pay review bodies in full but the Royal College of Nursing Cymru say the increase, which will apply retrospectively from April 2021, is not enough.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “Once again, I want to thank our Welsh NHS staff for their extraordinary efforts over the course of this pandemic. Many staff have worked extremely long hours under enormous pressure.

“This pay rise recognises the dedication and commitment of hardworking NHS staff and the enormous contribution they have made. It is also a recognition of how valued they are by Welsh communities.

“For our lowest paid staff, this means we have gone above the Living Wage recommendation of £9.50 an hour, demonstrating our commitment to NHS Wales being a Living Wage employer.”

Health Minister Eluned Morgan says the pay rise reflects the Welsh Government's gratitude to NHS staff

However, the Royal College of Nursing Cymru says the 3% rise leaves nursing staff feeling that their sacrifices in tackling the Covid-19 crisis over the past 18 months "have been neither recognised nor rewarded".

Helen Whyley, RCN Wales’ Director, said: “The 3% award is a long way off the 12.5% claim of the Royal College of Nursing, which would bring nurses in line with other professions and redress the fact that their wages have reduced over the last 10 years.

 “It also does not recognise the commitment of nursing staff throughout the pandemic. Investment in the nursing profession must be the top priority for the Welsh Government.

 “It is our belief that there has never been a time when the need for an urgent and significant pay rise for NHS staff has been so great. A belief shared by so many people across Wales.”

The RCN Cymru is calling for a 12.5% pay rise for NHS staff.

The Welsh Government says the recommendations from the NHS Pay Review Body and the Doctors and Dentist Review Body apply to staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions, which includes employed nurses, cleaners, porters and health support workers.

It also applies to consultants, doctors in training, pre-2021 speciality and associate specialist (SAS) doctor contracts, salaried GPs and dentists.

The Welsh Government also say the UK Treasury has not yet provided any information about whether any additional funding will be provided to cover the cost of the recommended uplift above the 1% cap previously announced but the Health Minister said current budgets will be prioritised to enable this the deal to be implemented.