The Trade Union Congress (TUC) Heart Unions week is back from 14-20 February
This year the CSP is focused on recruiting more stewards and safety reps as part of a wider push to deepen workplace organising.
Organising involves harnessing the power of member-led collective action to change the workplace and the physiotherapy profession for the better.
Membership continues to soar
Membership to the CSP continues to grow. We now have 63,000 members – our highest ever total. Our challenge in 2022 is to grow our rep numbers – CSP stewards and safety reps. This will enable us to grow the strength and power of our membership alongside our numbers.
HeartUnions week is used to tell the story about why unions are vital for everyone at work. At the CSP, we +unions – and recognise that our trade union is the beating heart of members’ workplaces.
Alice Spilsbury, CSP organiser, explains: ‘A healthy heart enables our bodies to function. The same is true for a trade union, it enables workers to survive and flourish.
‘Blood cells oxygenate our bodies filling us with energy. CSP members are the blood, which flows through and powers our professional and union body.
‘Lastly, our reps are our muscles, doing the lifting and flexing necessary to keep us moving.’
Physio workers and organisers
The CSP’s organisers work in a trade union in the same way that physiotherapy staff work with people: we empower by enabling, says Alice, who is also a physiotherapist working in the NHS.
Physios and physiotherapy assistants work with people to maximise potential, through facilitating power and movement.
Trade union organisers focus on building muscle power – by empowering reps through organising and training – and by supporting member recruitment and activating members. This includes encouraging you to volunteer as stewards and safety reps.
Rehabilitation and workplace wins
Physios and physiotherapy assistants are looking for markers: evidence that the body is responding positively to rehabilitation. Similarly, CSP organisers are looking for ‘workplace wins’ as evidence that organising is working and trade unionism is alive and well.
Organising clinics: empowerment through enabling
For #HeartUnions2022 the CSP will launch ‘organising clinics’: educational resources and training to improve organising knowledge, skills and awareness throughout our membership.
We want to empower our reps and members through an awareness that organising works: by unpacking workplace wins and replicating them across the four countries.
If you notice any workplace issues that are systematically affecting physio members, such as stress, workload, mental health, loss of physio space, pay, terms and conditions, car parking and so on:
- email us and explain the issue: GetOrganised@csp.org.uk
- organisers will be in touch to arrange a bespoke ‘organising clinic’
- organisers will run an organising training, either digitally or in person, to get members active and collectively tackle your problems/issues at work.
What else can you do?
- identify who your CSP rep is, say hello, and look out for messages from them.
- ask your physio and support staff colleagues if they are a union member and get them signed up to the CSP.
- keep your employment details up to date and opt in to receive CSP emails, via the CSP website.
- stand as a rep in your workplace where there is a vacancy/need.
- find out more at HeartUnions week: 14-20 February.
Stewards in Swansea Bay University Health Board were concerned about a potential loss of physio space. They put up posters to inform and engage members. The day after the posters went up the director of primary, community services and therapies contacted stewards to request a meeting.
Stewards then organised a CSP member meeting to involve members and plan further actions. The pressure of the meeting was enough to secure a meeting with the CEO of the health board, which resulted in a commitment to meaningful consultation with members and partnership working with trade unions.
The key to workplace organising is that members are the drivers of change – whether by submitting a survey, attending a meeting, signing a petition, attending a demonstration, or taking some other kind of collective action supported by a CSP rep.
Organising can be explained as: nothing for us without us!
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