Unison to ballot NHS Wales members on pay

Hospital ward Union members will be balloted over possible strike action

Related Stories

Thousands of Unison members who work for NHS Wales are to be balloted for industrial action, including strikes.

The vote in October is in response to the £160 one-off payment in lieu of a rise, it said.

Unison is the first union in Wales to take action following last month's pay offer.

The Welsh government said it was trying to be as fair as possible against a backdrop of drastic budget cuts.

Unison represents 35,000 workers in Wales from the lowest paid laundry workers to chief executives.

Dawn Bowden, Unison's head of health, 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 no not accept that a £160 non-consolidated one-off payment is the best that could be done for the rest of our members."

'Extreme disappointment'

The independent pay review board has recommended a one per cent pay rise.

But Welsh ministers announced the rise would only go to consultants at the top of their pay grades, who do not automatically receive an increase for progressing in their jobs.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said the offer was fair during a financial squeeze.

He said the salaries of the lowest paid NHS staff would be increased to the level of the living wage, at least £7.65 an hour from September.

Unison also expressed "extreme disappointment" at the award of £1,200 to the highest paid consultants in Wales.

Regional secretary Margaret Thomas said: "The difference in the award to Unison members and what is to be paid to some of the highest paid medical staff has made our members feel like second-class citizens in the Welsh NHS."

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "We are proud the Welsh NHS is now a living wage employer and through our pay settlement we have tried to be as fair as possible against a backdrop of our budget being drastically cut by the UK Government.

"The reality is that by 2015-16 the Welsh government's budget will be nearly £1.7bn less than it was in 2010-11.

"Our priority is to maintain jobs. With pay accounting for more than 60% of the NHS budget, we have no choice but to consider some form of pay restraint to maintain jobs and services."

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Wales stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Baby in boxStrange case

    The remarkable appeal of the Finnish baby boxes


  • WW1 gas mask being demonstratedTrench terror

    Did the soldiers of WW1 have an irrational fear of poison gas?


  • Mitt Romney, speaks at the podium as he concedes the presidency during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention 7 November 2012Aura of a loser?

    Mitt Romney looked presidential but could never pull it off


  • A woman holds up a feminist sign.PC virus

    Is liberal speech policing out of control?


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ReadingBest books

    BBC Culture takes a look at ten books you should read in February

Programmes

  • A car being driven by Cruise Automation technologyClick Watch

    The tech which could allow any car with an automatic gearbox to become self-driving

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.