RCN Wales is in Trade Dispute with the Welsh Government

Our members have stated that 3% is not enough. We are therefore asking for further pay negotiations.

The Royal College of Nursing Wales has lodged a formal trade dispute with the Welsh Government over its 3% pay award for NHS Wales nursing staff. A trade dispute is a dispute between an employer (or government minister) and workers in connection with their terms and conditions.

The RCN lodged the trade dispute following the Welsh Government’s decision to implement the below-inflation pay award without engaging in further discussions – despite 93.8% of RCN members who voted in Wales deeming it “unacceptable”.

Just as it is our responsibility as a Royal College to defend patient safety, it is our responsibility as a trade union to fight for our members.

If within the next 7 days, the Welsh Government refuses to meet and resume negotiating an increase to 3%, we will have no choice but to initiate a ballot of our members on taking industrial action.

We will continue to push for further pay discussions for our nursing staff to get the recognition they deserve.

Check your details are up to date on MyRCN to make sure you’re included in any vote on industrial action.

Pay, Terms and Conditions

The leadership and professionalism shown by nursing staff, and all health and social care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, is testament to their commitment to patient safety. Nursing staff deserve to be recognised for the complexity of skill, responsibility and expertise they demonstrate every day. The nursing profession has been at the forefront of the response to the pandemic, leading on innovation, working long hours in stressful conditions and improving the quality of treatment and care. However, this level of commitment is not new for nursing. Nurses and nursing staff have always strived to deliver high quality patient care in all settings at all times. COVID-19 has simply highlighted this to the public in a new way.

Did you know?

There are over 1600 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS Wales.
Imagine the care that these missing nurses could deliver!

Did you know?

Every week nurses in Wales give the NHS extra hours to the value of 976 full-time nurses.
Pressurising nurses to work longer hours contributes to stress and sickness.

The Welsh Government needs to take action to ensure that working in the NHS is a viable option for nurses. Currently, more nurses leave the NHS than join. Many nurses have caring responsibilities for both young children and older parents and would prefer to work for an employer where they have control over their working hours.


ACTION: Ensure a national nursing retention strategy for the NHS with increased access to flexible working as one of the policy drivers.

Continued Professional Development

Professional development and learning is a fundamental career-long requirement for every nurse. It is a requirement for successful revalidation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and essential for patient safety and clinical effectiveness. Yet, because of the difficulty of backfilling nurses on the team, some employers have stopped all access to continuous professional development (CPD) for nurses. This means that keeping up to date (e.g. with new mental capacity legislation) and learning new skills (e.g. in looking after vulnerable patients with dementia) becomes something that nurses have to struggle to do in their own time and at their own cost. In contrast, doctors have access to CPD as part of their contracts.

In the 2019 RCN employment survey, across the UK just 54% of all nursing staff said they had completed their last mandatory training in normal working hours, but in Wales this fell further to a disturbing 29%.

ACTION – Ensure CPD uptake for nurses and nursing staff is improved.

Find out more about the Fair Pay for Nursing campaign and how you can get involved

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