AFTER nurses in England have announced two new strike dates in January, their Welsh colleagues have said they may also consider further walk outs.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that unless negotiations are opened, its members in England will walk out on January 18 and 19.

It comes after two days of strike action across Wales, England and Northern Ireland on December 15 and 20 - the first time in history that RCN nurses have carried out industrial action.

The nurses are protesting against poor wages, staff shortages, and patient safety concerns. 

Now, RCN Wales has said it may also consider further strikes in the New Year due to a “lack of engagement” from the Welsh Government. 

Director of RCN Wales, Helen Whyley, said: “I am bitterly disappointed to be going into the Christmas holidays without any resolution to this.

“Two days of strike action does not seem to have moved our Welsh Government ministers at all who continue to hide behind a funding row rather than focusing on resolving a Welsh dispute impacting on Welsh people. 

“When I visited our picket lines, nurses told me they were facing this Christmas with heavy hearts.

“All of them know they will face staff shortages and nurses will barely be able to heat their homes let alone make the holidays special for their loved ones which they so deserve. 

“The current situation within NHS Wales is deeply concerning with significant risks to patients from insufficient nursing staff and a struggling burnt out workforce.

“The RCN believe that the public deserves better and the way to retain and attract nursing staff is to reward them appropriately for the safety critical work that they do.

“The nursing workforce must be supported to provide high quality patient care, and this must start with a significant and substantial pay rise. 

“I have written to the Welsh Government this week requesting a way forward to avoid more strike action in Wales.

“If the Welsh Government does not make a genuine commitment to resolving this dispute new strike days will be announced in the New Year.” 

The Welsh Government has said without extra money from the UK Government it is unable to increase its offer.

Before the previous two days of strike action, health minister Eluned Morgan said: “We believe all public sector workers should be fairly rewarded for the important work they do. 

“The strikes which begin today will inevitably have a significant impact on NHS services. But we recognise the strength of feeling among staff, which the difficult decision to vote for industrial action reflects. 

“While we were unable to avert this week’s industrial action, all partners have agreed to keep talking and continue to work together.

“We will work continue to bring together trade unions, employers and government to deliver the best possible outcomes for workers within the funding we have available.”