FURTHER nursing strikes could be on the horizon after members of the Royal College of Nursing “overwhelmingly” rejected the latest offer from the Welsh Government.

The RCN has now called for negotiations to resume to resolved the long-running dispute over pay, conditions and patient safety.

The latest offer included an additional pay offer of three per cent, of which 1.5 per cent was consolidated (would be carried over into future pay awards) and 1.5 per cent would be a lump sum in 2022/23 only.

The offer would have been backdated to April 2022 and was on top of the Pay Review Body recommendations for 2022/23.

It also included non-pay commitments in areas such as a reduction in use of agency, unsocial hours allowance and with career progression.

RCN Wales director, Helen Whyley, has now called for a resumption of talks with the Welsh Government – adding that further strikes would be announced should minister for health Eluned Morgan not respond within five working days.

“Let’s be clear: this offer has not been accepted by RCN members,” she said.

“Our eligible members were balloted on the Welsh government’s additional pay offer.

“The RCN is the voice of nursing - our members make up the vast majority of the nursing workforce in the NHS in Wales.  

“They understand best the direct impact it would have, and they have spoken with strength to overwhelmingly reject this offer. 

“We therefore remain in dispute. 

“I have today written to the Minister to urge the Welsh Government to return to the table to negotiate directly with RCN.

“If this does not happen within the five working days I set out in my letter, I will have no other option but to announce further dates for strike action. 

“Strike action is always the last resort; our members do not want to strike, but this additional offer does not restore the years of being undervalued and understaffed.

“Nursing staff feel, once again, that they have left them with no alternative. The Welsh Government must take urgent action to bring this long-standing dispute to a close.”