Nine trade unions have united to collectively call on the Welsh Government to give NHS staff an urgent, significant and well-earned pay rise.
Paul Summers, trade union chair of the Welsh Partnership Forum, has penned an open letter to Welsh ministers, arguing that there has never been a time when the need for a pay increase has been so great.
The open letter is backed by unions representing a swathe of the health service workforce, including BMA Cymru Wales, the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives, GMB, Unite, Unison, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, British Association of Occupation Therapists, and the Society of Radiographers.
“In the past year Covid-19 has taken a terrible toll on our society,” Mr Summers wrote. “Many have sadly lost their lives and no one has been untouched by the pandemic.
“Throughout Wales, the NHS and its staff have been both vital and central to supporting the people of Wales.
“NHS staff have exhausted themselves physically and mentally in their efforts to tackle the virus and support patients in a system that was already underfunded and struggling.
“It is therefore our belief that there has never been a time when the need for an urgent and significant pay rise for NHS staff has been so great – a belief shared by so many people across Wales.”
BMA Cymru Wales chair Dr David Bailey said:
“Today is about standing together with NHS colleagues recognising the huge sacrifices they’ve made over the past year. Now is also the time to address the years of cuts which have seen staff become undervalued and demoralised. Healthcare workers have risked their own lives and those of their families to provide vital health care during the COVID-19 pandemic and now it is only right and fair that their efforts are rewarded to secure the longevity of our treasured national health service.
“A recent survey by BMA Cymru Wales found that over half of the doctors polled said they are now considering working fewer hours and over a quarter were considering early retirement due to the impact of the pandemic this is hugely concerning and why the Welsh Government needs to reward and incentivise this workforce to stay”
Reports from the independent pay review bodies (PRBs) – for staff on both Agenda for Change and Medical and Dental terms – have yet to be published.
Mr Summer encouraged the Welsh Government to go beyond the recommendations of both PRBs if they do not meet the trade unions’ demands.
He also called for the 2021 pay award to be backdated to December 2020, adding: “With all the challenges that face NHS staff in the coming years an urgent and significant pay rise is vital to reward staff and stem the tide of those leaving the NHS.
“Retaining and rewarding the skilled, dedicated and experienced NHS staff will have massive benefits on the health and wellbeing of Wales.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.