Members can support patients and workers during upcoming NHS strikes

With Royal College of Nursing (RCN) strike dates announced for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, CSP members should work professionally – and act in solidarity with any health care workers taking collective action.

by jimfahie

Some of our nursing colleagues are due to go on strike 15 and 20 December. Other unions representing healthcare staff – including Unison, Unite and the GMB – have also announced the outcome of their industrial ballots, and have started to announce further December strike dates.

If healthcare workers are taking industrial action in your employer, how can you show solidarity?

Offering moral support is a good start. When you go into work, stop and talk to any staff on a picket line – discuss their cause and say you are with them.

The CSP ballot in England and Wales will have closed when our RCN colleagues take their first day of strike action, and you will be able to share whether the CSP has a mandate to take industrial action in your workplace.

Elsewhere the CSP has a wide mandate for industrial action in Scotland – sharing this with your colleagues will help support their cause. There is something comforting about having a collective voice and there is after all, strength in numbers.

When you are not officially at work, go and visit any picket line in a break – your company will be warmly received, along with anything practical such as food or drink.

You can also help spread the word on social media or word of mouth with friends.

During working hours, it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure the provision of a safe service. They will have agreed in advance the level of cover between managers and local trade union representatives.

Some services will be closed, with care rearranged or moved elsewhere.

It is possible you may be asked to work away from your normal duties. If this is the case, you should consider whether you have the contractual obligation and the competency to carry out the duties you have been asked to undertake.

If you need any advice when deciding this, speak with your CSP steward.

Key professional considerations:

CSP Members, including agency staff not involved in taking industrial action, should:

  • attend work as normal – failure to do so will be seen as a breach of contract.
  • not cover the work of colleagues who are undertaking industrial action if that work falls outside of your contract.
  • not undertake any voluntary overtime work to cover the work of those taking industrial action.
  • not undertake any bank or agency work to cover the work of those involved in the industrial action.
  • not undertake any work that is outside of your professional competency.

Competency is for you to decide, having considered your training, development, competencies, skill set and your duties and obligations under the CSP Code of Professional Values and Behaviours and HCPC standards of proficiency for physiotherapists.

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