Unison to ballot NHS Wales members over £160 pay offer

First published in News

THE union Unison has voted unanimously to ballot its members in NHS Wales for industrial action over pay, it announced today.

They are looking to co-ordinate action with colleagues in NHS England over the next few months.

Dawn Bowden, Unison's head of health said the decision follows the health minister Mark Drakeford’s announcement on July 9 that all NHS staff would not be paid in accordance with the Pay Review Body recommendation of one per cent on all pay rates, but instead would receive a £160 one-off payment.

In a statement released this morning, the union said members are angry at what they term the "apparent disregard" for their hard work and effort they put in "on a daily basis to keep the NHS in Wales going" and considered the award to be an insult.

Dawn Bowden said: “We understand the very difficult financial situation that Welsh Government finds itself in as a result of UK funding cuts, however, we do not believe it is right that our members have to pay the price for this.

"While Unison has welcomed the minister’s announcement on the introduction of the Living Wage into NHS Wales, we do not accept that a £160 non consolidated one off payment is the best that could be done for the rest of our members.

"Welsh Government had indicated that it had a small pot of money available to pay something to staff in NHS Wales and Unison had given a clear indication how we felt that could be used to best effect.

"To have that view totally ignored is something we find difficult to swallow given the way in which we have co-operated with Welsh Government through the financial difficulties of the last 18 months.

"To our members, this feels like a kick in teeth."

Unison said it was "extremely disappointed" at the award of £1,200 to the highest paid consultant medical staff in Wales.

The ballot is likely to run through October with action commencing some time in November.

The Argus has contacted Welsh Government for a comment.

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