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RCN Wales ‘strongly encourages’ nurses to vote in Welsh government pay offer

A ballot has opened for members of RCN Wales’ to vote on the Welsh government’s latest pay offer. Officials are stressing the importance of voting ‘either way’ stating that ‘a vote not used is a vote wasted’.

All eligible RCN members can now vote in a consultative ballot on the Welsh government’s latest pay offer. The offer comes in addition to the pay awards already implemented for 2022-23 and 2023-24. It includes measures to improve pay for bank shifts, career progression, flexible working and commitments to reducing corridor care.

RCN Wales Director Helen Whyley said: ‘We want our members to make an informed decision based on their own circumstances, and whether they believe this improved offer will ease the pressures they face in their working lives. The elements improved upon in this offer aim to address nursing staff’s wellbeing, work-life balance, pay for bank shifts, career progression and much more. 

She continued: ‘I want to stress the importance of voting either way in this ballot; a vote not used is a vote wasted and a voice not heard. I strongly encourage members to vote as soon as they receive their ballot and use all the resources available to reach a decision.’

The latest offer is on top of an additional 1.5% consolidated pay increase and 1.5% non-consolidated pay increase for 2022-23. A further one-off payment averaging 3% for 2022-23 and a 5% consolidated increase for 2023-24, which has already been implemented.

The non-pay elements of the original 2022-23 offer have been enhanced with increased benefits which are aimed at improving health worker’s career opportunities and work-life balance.

In a cabinet statement, the Welsh government said that ‘hard choices have been required to fund this pay offer and we have drawn on our reserves and underspends from across government to put this offer together. Using this money to increase pay now means we can’t use it for other purposes – but we are confident that this is the right thing to do.

‘While the union representatives would have wished for even greater increases, they have arrived at their professional judgement that this is the best and final offer that can be negotiated with Welsh Government.

I hope union members will consider carefully the full and final offer and vote to accept.’

But the RCN are not advising people which way to vote and state that ‘members must consider their own personal circumstances and how the offer will affect them’ but remind members that this is an offer in principle, and will not be implemented unless it is accepted.

Ms Whyley said: ‘This ballot is a critical point in our campaign for the fair pay and conditions members deserve. Thanks to their efforts, we’ve been able to bring the Welsh government back to the table for a third time and improve on the pay deal for both 2022-23 and 2023-24 yet again. Members should be in no doubt that their voice and their vote have real impact.’

Read the full pay offer here.