Some UK health workers call off strikes after receiving pay offers

FILE PHOTO: NHS nurses and other medical workers hold placards during a strike, amid a dispute with the government over pay, in London, Britain January 18, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Nurses in Wales and some ambulance workers have called off strikes planned for next week as they review pay offers from the Welsh government, their unions said, even as much larger strikes involving health staff in England are due to go ahead.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it would put a new pay offer from the devolved Welsh government of an additional 3% to its members for a vote within days. It had previously said the government had awarded a pay rise equal to a 4% increase.

Meanwhile, the GMB trade union said it had suspended its ambulance worker strike in order to hold further talks with the Welsh government after it was offered a deal involving a one-off payment for 2022/23, in addition to an existing 4.5% pay rise.

Nurses in Scotland said last month they would hold off announcing strike action in order to hold further talks on pay with the government there.

Still, Britain's National Health Service (NHS) faces its largest ever strike by health workers on Monday involving tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance staff in England.

"If the other governments can negotiate and find more money for this year, the prime minister can do the same," RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen said in a statement.

"If the prime minister decides to leave England’s nurses as the lowest paid in the UK, he must expect this strike to continue. He can still turn things around before Monday – start talking seriously and the strikes are off."

The Unite union said a planned strike by its ambulance workers in Wales was still scheduled to go ahead on Monday.

(Reporting by Sarah Young, writing by Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)

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