by Dave Hurford and Alan Evans
If the hooting of passing motor vehicles showing support was anything to go by it was clear that the general public were broadly supportive of todays action by nurses and NHS staff.
The nurses we spoke to on the picket line at Prince Philip Hospital remained confident that the action was making a strong statement regarding their pay and that of their colleagues within the profession.
There was a real sense of optimism but also one of despair that such extreme measures were now necessary.
Some have warned of an imminent crisis for the NHS in Wales if pay and conditions are not reviewed. It is the second day of strike action.
The Welsh Government continue to blame the UK Westminster Government and insists that nurse’s pay is set by an independent review body. Welsh Government already receives £18bn per year from Westminster.
Ambulance crews are also planning walkouts. One paramedic who did not wish to be named said:
“I’m a paramedic working for the Welsh Ambulance Service, based in South East Wales. I am writing to you after listening to an interview with Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, broadcast on BBC Radio Wales on Sunday morning, in which she said Welsh Labour will not increase our 4% pay rise.
“Whilst all the talk at the moment is about this pay-rise, my colleagues and I have had to take a 3% pay-cut due to the way new rotas were introduced last month, which have significantly reduced our unsocial hours shifts.
“Numerous ambulance stations across Wales have been affected. All front-line ambulance staff on our station have been forced to drop 39 unsocial hours shifts, which equates to £1,210 annually in unsocial hours payments, or £100 per month. This has a significant impact on our 4% pay-rise.
“Eluned Morgan and Welsh Labour continue to blame the UK Government for not providing further funds to offer ambulance staff an increased pay-rise, however, our recently imposed pay-cut has nothing to do with the UK Government in Westminster. It is entirely in the hands of Welsh Labour, who have sat back and said nothing whilst our six figure salary bosses have handed out pay-cuts to their own staff.
“A formal collective grievance was submitted locally but management responded by saying there was no case to answer. Our Trade Unions have also raised concerns about this pay-cut with Welsh Ambulance Service managers and the Labour controlled Welsh parliament, but as yet, the pay-cut still stands.”
Pics. David Hurford