UNISON Cymru/Wales Health Committee have voted unanimously to ballot its members in NHS Wales for industrial action over pay and is looking to co-ordinate action with colleagues in NHS England over the next few months.
This decision follows the Health Minister’s announcement on 9th July that all NHS Staff would not be paid in accordance with the Pay Review Body recommendation of 1% on all pay rates, but instead would receive a £160 one off payment.
The Health Committee have heard how angry members are at this apparent disregard for the 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, UNISON 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.
"Whilst 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 also expressed extreme disappointment at the award of £1200 to the highest paid consultant medical staff in Wales.
Margaret Thomas, Regional Secretary 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.
"We are also unhappy that the Minister has indicated that these pay awards, paltry though they are, are subject to a commitment from the trade unions and professional bodies to early implementation of the Agenda for Change terms and conditions changes.
"This is something we do not accept and have never agreed.”
The ballot is likely to run through October with action commencing some time in November.