With industrial action on the horizon, we respond to your queries about what ballots and strikes may mean for you.
As Frontline goes to press, the results of the CSP ballots in England and Wales have been announced and a range of other NHS unions have begun action or are waiting outcomes from their own industrial action ballots.
We continue to work together and press for the government to enter into meaningful talks with the CSP and other unions.
Am I able to take part in industrial action if I am a service manager or lead?
All members entitled to vote in the ballot can take part in a strike, and are encouraged to, subject to any ‘life and limb’ considerations being met.
Can colleagues take part in industrial action if they are not CSP members?
The CSP can and will only call its own members to take part in industrial action. However, provided there has been a lawful ballot, non-members taking action have the same protection from dismissal as members.
If I am part-time, can I take part in industrial action?
You can take part in the ballot for industrial action. If action is called on a day that you do work, you can take part in the action.
However, if you do not work on a day that strike action is called, you are unable formally to withdraw your labour. However, you can support your colleagues locally by joining them on any demonstration or in any other activities planned on the day. (Please note: the only place you are only allowed to join a picket line is outside your own workplace).
Are bank staff protected from unfair dismissal for taking industrial action, like any other employees?
Bank staff who are employed in the NHS under Agenda for Change terms and conditions, and who are CSP members who have been afforded the opportunity to take part in the ballot, are protected from unfair dismissal in the same way as any other employee taking part.
Will I be paid if I take part in strike action?
No. An employer is entitled to withhold one day’s pay for each day or part day of strike action from those employees who are deemed to be on strike.
Will I receive strike pay if I go on strike?
No. The CSP does not have a strike fund, nor does it have the resources to reimburse members on strike for lost pay. While there will inevitably be some short-term financial loss to members who take strike action, we hope that the campaign will bring about improvements in the pay award that will be of greater long-term benefit to everyone, although this cannot of course be guaranteed.
What happens if I am off sick?
If you are off sick prior to and on the day of action, you retain your right to statutory sick pay during the strike action. If you report sick on the day, your employer may make a judgement as to whether you are off sick or on strike. For the purpose of future sick pay and annual leave after the strike, average earning figures would reflect the loss of earnings for the day of action.
What can I be asked to cover when another profession is taking industrial action?
Managers have the right to discuss whether you can cover work for other workplace professionals that are taking part in strike action.
While at work, you should not be expected to work beyond your contract of employment, should not undertake activity for which you are not competent, and should not put yourself or a patient at risk of danger or harm. You cannot be told by your manager, or any other person, that you are competent in a role or task that you have not undertaken before.
Whether or not you are competent 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 the HCPC standards of proficiency for physiotherapists which state ‘Registrant physiotherapists must be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice.’
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.
- you should not undertake any work that is outside of your professional competency.
- you should not cover the work of colleagues who are undertaking industrial action if that work falls outside of your contract.
- you should not undertake any voluntary overtime work to cover the work of those taking industrial action.
- you should not undertake any bank or agency work to cover the work of those involved in the industrial action.
What happens if I don’t want to cross a picket line?
Trade unions taking action are likely to establish an official picket line. If CSP members refuse to cross the picket line to attend work then they could face disciplinary proceedings. They are also likely to have their salary deducted as they would be considered as participating in un-balloted industrial action.
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