NHS workers ready to reject new Welsh government pay offer

Welsh government’s new NHS pay offer is derisory and makes no difference to healthcare workers’ standard of living.

That’s according to UNISON delegates from health boards and trusts across Wales.

UNISON Cymru Wales’ Health Committee has today (Thursday), agreed to hold a pay consultation ballot of NHS staff and it is recommending they reject Welsh government’s new offer.

UNISON says a majority vote in favour of rejection will be a trigger for a ballot for industrial action.

Thousands of Welsh nurses, healthcare assistants, ambulance workers, hospital porters, cleaners, cooks, admin staff and more, who belong to UNISON, have already voted by 87 per cent against the imposition of a below-inflation award and the union expects Welsh government’s modest enhancements to the pay award will again be overwhelming rejected.

UNISON says healthcare workers have been left bitterly disappointed by Welsh government’s suggestion the original 3 per cent pay award could only be boosted by a one-off, unconsolidated 1 per cent and a day’s additional annual leave.

UNISON’s pay claim was for all NHS staff to receive an increase of £2,000. The union’s pay consultation will run from 8 November to 10 December.

UNISON is writing to Health Minister Eluned Morgan, to seek a reopening of negotiations to avoid a formal dispute and potentially damaging industrial action.

Dawn Ward, chair of UNISON Cymru Wales’ Health Committee, said,

“NHS staff can’t understand why politicians think it’s alright for healthcare workers to be given a below inflation pay rise.

“After everything we’ve given during Covid, after a decade of pay freezes or pay caps that have squeezed our family budgets. We deserve much more. Clapping is not enough.

“We want to send the strongest possible signal that Welsh government should treat NHS staff with dignity.

“UNISON remains available for pay negotiations, but we need the health minister to return with an acceptable offer.”

Notes for editors

  • Between 11 August and 17 September, UNISON health members in Wales were asked for their views on Welsh government’s 3% pay increase in a pay consultative exercise – 87.4% opposed the award imposition; 12.6% found it acceptable
  • UNISON’s evidence to the NHS pay review body had called for a wage increase of at least £2,000 for each individual health worker.
  • The pay award was due in April, but staff have been made to wait until the summer. They have endured a decade of pay freezes or low pay awards because of UK government austerity.
  • At the end of October, UNISON Cymru Wales’ health committee voted to support ongoing talks with Welsh government to try to reach agreement on improving on the 3 per cent.

During the urgent talks, Welsh government has proposed:

  • A one off non-consolidated additional payment of 1 per cent for those on bands 1-5, and the F1 doctors who fall into this pay band. This payment would not be pro rata.
  • An additional day’s annual leave for all employed NHS staff.
  • To put resource behind a partnership group that looks at ‘staff welfare’ and bring together new initiatives and existing best practice.
  • Allow staff to sell back their unused annual leave from their carryover from 20/21 plus a proportion of leave from 21/22.


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Cymru Wales press officer 07816 53 83 97