Biggest Welsh healthcare union prepares for industrial action ballot

NHS staff belonging to Wales’ biggest healthcare union feel let down by Welsh government’s pay offer and will now be balloted for industrial action.

Thousands of Welsh nurses, healthcare assistants, ambulance workers, hospital porters, cleaners, cooks, admin staff and more belonging to UNISON say a below-inflation pay rise in a cost-of-living crisis is not good enough.

The wages of NHS staff in Wales have been supressed over the last decade with pay freezes or capped pay awards and UNISON representatives in Welsh hospitals report daily approaches from colleagues struggling to make ends meet and in dire need.

The Welsh government announced on Friday last week (22 July), it will not boost salaries by more than the recommendations of the Pay Review Body (PRB).

Dawn Ward, chair of UNISON Cymru Wales health committee, said

“Welsh government has totally let down healthcare workers in the middle of the worst cost of living crisis in living memory. Our salaries have been so tightly squeezed by years of Westminster underfunding that NHS staff simply cannot cope with rocketing bills and groceries.

“Being a healthcare worker can be stressful at the best of times, you shouldn’t have to be worrying about where the next meal will come from. But that is the desperate situation many NHS staff are in.”

Hugh McDyer, UNISON Cymru Wales head of health, said

“It’s very disappointing Welsh government turned down our request for additional pay enhancements for health workers in Wales. A decent pay rise would be a start in sorting out the workforce crisis which is at the heart of a number of health service problems.

“Welsh government recognises their offer falls short of what is needed in this crisis, but blames a lack of funding for pay from Westminster. This deal does not meet the needs of the health workforce in Wales and we will begin preparations towards conducting an industrial action ballot.


  • The recommendation of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB), for all NHS staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions – including nurses, cleaners, porters, healthcare support workers and healthcare professionals, is for a £1,400 pay rise on most pay grades.

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