Industrial action explained

It is critical that CSP members understand the balloting process for undertaking industrial action 

Industrial action

In Scotland the CSP industrial action ballot has now closed. In England and Wales the ballots run from 7 November -12 December – do not fail to cast your vote! Last month we published frequently asked questions about the ballots. This month we focus on what occurs once you’ve voted and if industrial action happens. 

I have already voted in the ballot – what can I do now? 

If you are in England and Wales, speak to your work colleagues. Have they voted yet? If not, encourage them to do so without delay. If anyone has not received a ballot paper encourage them to contact us with their full details as soon as possible at The CSP Council is recommending a Yes vote. Your CSP reps are working hard to ensure all eligible members vote in the ballot – get in touch with yours to see if they need a hand. You can also help by putting up posters in your workplace and passing on messaging about the ballot in other ways. Look out for more information on the CSP website: NHS pay

Will CSP members be taking action together with other health union members?

Yes. If CSP members vote to take industrial action we will always work with other health unions to look at how we can co-ordinate any action that is taken in the NHS. Unison, RCM, RCN and other unions are currently conducting or have completed their own industrial action ballots and the overall results will be a critical factor in deciding next steps in the industrial campaign for fair NHS pay. 

How many days strike action could we take? 

Industrial action can take different forms including strike and action short of strike. Strike action can be for part of a day, a whole day or sustained over a period of time.  What sort of industrial action CSP members will be called upon to take, the dates and the nature of that action, will be decided following careful discussions with other health unions and also consideration by the CSP Council. Any decision will also take into account the impact on members and services.

Will action be taken in every employer?

This is a disaggregated ballot which means there will be a separate ballot outcome for every individual employer. Only members working for employers where there has been a yes vote meeting all the thresholds can be called to take industrial action.

What advice does the CSP have for members on maintaining patient safety should strike action take place?

It is the responsibility of individual employers to consider emergency cover in preparation for any potential industrial action and to discuss this with trade unions at local level.  As such, we would expect the main discussions to take place between local managers and unions, once the industrial action ballot results are known, supplemented by specific discussions in particular departments or specialist areas.

We cannot issue definitive guidance on what is and what is not appropriate in each service as this will vary from service to service. This may, for example, include a critically ill patient with a respiratory condition that requires urgent attention. Within physiotherapy we would expect stewards and managers to discuss and agree what services and what staffing levels are required.

The key is to maintain patient safety and decide which services must continue to prevent patients being put at risk.

Local consideration will also need to be given to adequate supervision for staff who are working on a day when there is a strike, taking into account competence and safe levels of practice and also any health and safety risks for lone workers.

Members will also need to be mindful of the requirement to share information with colleagues and the duty to keep clear and accurate records, which becomes particularly important when alternative cover is provided.

In your discussions with your employer locally, it would be helpful to flag up that the CSP never wanted to be in the position of balloting for industrial action, and it is still our hope that there will be further talks aimed at reaching a negotiated settlement to the current dispute.

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