Wales nurses strike off after pay offer but walkouts in rest of UK to go ahead

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief executive Pat Cullen joins RCN members on the picket line (PA Wire)
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief executive Pat Cullen joins RCN members on the picket line (PA Wire)

The Royal College of Nursing has cancelled planned strikes in Wales for Monday and Tuesday after receiving a new pay offer from the Welsh government - but walkouts will still go ahead in London and other parts of the UK.

In a statement released on Friday, the RCN in Wales confirmed that it would pause industrial action as it considers an offer from the Welsh Government to increase the pay award already made for 2022/23 by 3 per cent.

The proposal follows negotiations this week between the RCN and other health trade unions and the Welsh government. A strike by physiotherapists in Wales on Tuesday has also been called off.

RCN Wales Director, Helen Whyley, said: “Our strike action in December has clearly been effective as the Welsh government has listened to the issues facing nursing in Wales and put forward an increased offer for nurses pay back dated to April 2022 and thus avoided the strikes planned for next week.”

Separately, the GMB union in Wales has also called off industrial action following a pay offer.

But the RCN confirmed that strikes in England on Monday and Tuesday would still go ahead as the Government had not opened negotiations on pay. Industrial action will affect 73 trusts across England - including seven in London - and will coincide with strikes by ambulance workers.

RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “If the other governments can negotiate and find more money for this year, the Prime Minister can do the same. Rishi Sunak has no place left to hide. His unwillingness to help nursing is being exposed as a personal choice, not an economic necessity.”

GMB official Nathan Holman said: "After intense negotiations, GMB has agreed to suspend strike action while further talks take place.

"We recognise that the Welsh government and Welsh Ambulance have made concessions and, through social partnership, we appreciate the frank and open dialogue with them over the last few months.

"This has only been made possible because the Welsh government has been prepared to talk about pay - a lesson for those in charge on the other side of the Severn Bridge.

"We are a member-led union, ultimately they will decide."

Unison's head of health Sara Gorton said: "This ramps up the pressure on the Prime Minister significantly. Political leaders in Scotland and now in Wales are making the Westminster Government look decidedly mean and totally out of touch.

"Rishi Sunak says he'd love to give health workers a pay rise yet claims he can't. But he can and he should. If he doesn't, NHS strikes will continue across England for months.

"Staff and patients in England deserve much better treatment from a Prime Minister who insists the NHS is one of his top priorities.”