UNISON NHS staff vote to accept Welsh government’s pay offer

Health workers outside Neath Port Talbot Hospital

NHS staff belonging to UNISON in Wales have voted to accept a new pay offer, says the union today (Friday).

UNISON, the largest health union in Wales, has been consulting with staff on Agenda for Change contracts (those directly employed by the NHS) over the Welsh government’s pay offer for 2023/24 and an additional one-off ‘recovery payment’ for the previous financial year.

The ballot closed earlier today and a significant majority (78%) have voted to accept the offer, with just 22% voting to reject.

NHS staff across Wales have been taking part in UNISON’s online consultation since the end of April in relation to additional pay for 2022/23 and 2023/24. Other health unions have been doing the same.

The offer consists of a 5% wage increase (payable from 1 April 2023) and an additional one-off payment for 2022/23 – worth between £900 and £1,190.

All NHS unions will discuss their consultation results later this month (Monday 22 May) ahead of a meeting with Welsh government the following day.

UNISON Cymru/Wales head of bargaining and campaigns Jess Turner said: “Health workers have sent a clear message. Of course, NHS staff want and deserve more, but they’ve opted to accept this offer and the certainty it brings them.

“This acceptance might end UNISON’s NHS dispute, but it doesn’t solve the significant workforce issues facing the health service. The most pressing is tackling the growing staffing emergency and health worker burnout.

“The NHS is one team. Every job and every worker make an essential contribution to patient care.

“NHS staff have told us they need money in their pockets now to deal with the worsening cost-of-living crisis.

“If this deal goes through NHS staff will receive their pay rise much sooner than in previous years. This sets an expectation for the way NHS pay is approached in future in Wales.”

Notes to editors: 

  • The NHS recovery payment is an average 3%, worth between £900 and £1,190 to health workers. It is in addition to an earlier one off payment of 1.5% of their annual salary from the Welsh government in February.
  • The 5% pay award for 2023/24 means the lowest paid workers in NHS Wales will receive an annual salary of £22,720, with the new hourly rate of pay rising from £10.90 to £11.62.
  • Pay at the top of Band 5 will rise from £33,428 to £35,099 in 2023/24.
  • UNISON and other health unions consulted with NHS staff in Wales via an online consultation as to whether or not to accept the latest Welsh government offer. This consultation started on Monday 24 April and ran for three weeks, closing at noon today.