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Live updates as more than a thousand nurses protest across Wales for a pay rise

Nurses who say they have been excluded from recent public sector pay rises are protesting across Wales today.

More than a thousand nurses are expected to take to the streets to demand a pay rise.

In Wales, nurses are in the final year of a three-year pay deal agreed in 2018 that was almost identical to the pay rise agreed in England at the same time.

Almost 900,000 public sector workers have been given an above-inflation pay rise, including doctors, dentists and police.

In Wales, a new pay deal was also recently agreed for teachers that will give them an above-inflation pay rise.

Senior staff nurse from Merthyr Tydfil Rhian Bethell, who contracted coronavirus during the height of the pandemic, said: “Everyone I know works overtime or extra shifts. How can you sustain a life, work 50 hours a week and be there for your children and your family? You just can’t. It’s practically impossible.”

Port Talbot staff nurse Jessica Bamford said: “We have been taken advantage of for far too long. We are being held over a moral barrel as they know that we won’t just get up and leave because we care about our patients too much.”

Under the previous 2018 deal, nurses are due a pay rise next April, but unions want the UK and Welsh governments to bring it forward to this year show its appreciation for NHS staff.

The current agreement is said this year to have seen the average nurse receiving an average increase of 4.4 percent.

However nurses in the higher bracket of their pay grade said the rise is worth “pennies” each month.

More than a thousand people, mostly NHS staff, are expected across the four marches in Wales on Saturday.

They will take place outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, from Castle Gardens to the Guildhall in Swansea, at Merthyr fountain and outside the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

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