NURSES are to go on strike again after narrowly rejecting the latest pay offer from the Welsh Government.

The Royal College of Nursing in Wales has announced that its members will return to the picket line in June and July after 53.21 per cent voted to reject the latest pay.

In April, the Welsh Government tabled an offer that equated to an average three per cent lump sum payment, described as an NHS recovery payment for 2022/23 and a five per cent consolidated pay rise for 2023/24.

This has been rejected and strikes will now take place on 6 and 7 June and 12 and 13 July.

RCN Wales has written to the Minister for Health & Social Services Eluned Morgan seeking to urgently re-enter negotiations in light of this result.

Strike action will run for the duration of the day shift on each day and derogations will be tighter than those in place during strike action in December 2022.

RCN Wales Director, Helen Whyley said: “Nursing staff took the momentous decision to strike for fair pay and safe staffing levels. We need a substantial offer from the Welsh government that reflects the magnitude of that decision.

“Today, we have heard our members loud and clear, and this latest decision only makes us more determined as a college to secure a meaningful and acceptable pay offer for the future of the profession. Nursing staff always act in the interests of their patients, and are the true ambassadors for our NHS. The government must act in their interest now, because protecting nursing protects the public.

“I have asked for pay talks to be opened immediately with the Minister for Health & Social Services so that our members do not need to return to picket lines. Strike action is always a last resort, but we have been pushed here yet again. If talks aren’t forthcoming, we won’t hesitate to strike, with stronger strike action than we’ve seen before.”

A Welsh government spokesman said: "While we recognise the strength of feeling among members, we are disappointed by the ballot outcome.

"We are also disappointed by the announcement of further industrial action prior to hearing the outcome of other trade union ballots and agreeing a final collective position at the Wales Partnership Forum Business Committee."