NURSING strikes in Wales will go ahead next month after the Royal College of Nursing has rejected the Welsh Government's offer of a one-off payment.

First minister Mark Drakeford had floated the idea of a one-off payment earlier this month in an attempt to bring an end the strikes across the healthcare system in Wales.

Mr Drakeford argued the Welsh Government did not have the money to raise NHS workers’ base level pay – so instead would offer a “one off payment in the current financial year”.

But after the latest round of talks between the RCN and health minister Eluned Morgan, the union said they were “still no further forward”.

RCN Wales director, Helen Whyley, accused the Welsh Government of “not negotiating seriously” on NHS pay, and rather than taking responsibility for the situation in Wales, shifting blame onto the UK Government.

“Yet again, the Welsh Government has blamed the UK Government’s lack of additional funding for public services rather than taking responsibility to invest in Welsh nurses delivering Welsh NHS services for Welsh people,” said Ms Whyley.

“Welsh Government continue to fail dismally to resolve the RCN’s pay dispute and to address the extensive and unsustainable nursing staffing crisis in the NHS.

“The approach put forward is simply not enough to offer a substantiative and restorative pay award to our members, which is what we have called for all along.

“From the perspective of nursing staff, the Welsh Government are not negotiating seriously on NHS pay. Unless they do so urgently, we will be announcing further strike days for Wales, imminently.”

The RCN has announced its members across England and Wales will be striking on Monday, February 6 and Tuesday, February 7 – however those in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board region will not be on the picket line.

The Welsh Government has been contacted for comment.