Ten things the CSP did in the workplace in 2020

An annual roundup of activity from CSP representatives, and our employment relations & trade union staff.


1) Organising

CSP efforts at empowering members to protect and advance working conditions were given a boost in September, when two new full-time organisers joined the workplace organising team.   During the Covid19 pandemic, our organisers worked alongside members to overcome barriers to the restart of physio services, and have produced resources to help members challenge employers about planned losses of physiotherapy space.

Our organisers have already sounded out members’ views on NHS pay to inform our submission to the Pay Review Body - due in 2021.  They did so by running 12 focus groups, with over 100 members, throughout the UK.  Our evidence will also draw on our largest ever pay survey, where over 6000 members told us their views about pay and work within the NHS. 

2) Reps’ learning

The Covid19 pandemic has required the CSP to make a major shift to online learning.  With reps taking this in their stride, between April and November 2020 we ran: two distance-learning steward’s induction courses, training 41 new stewards; and two safety rep’s induction courses, training 47 new safety reps.  We also Inducted 13 stewards through an all-new, online version of our steward’s induction course using the CSP learning hub.  All these courses have been accredited by the Trades Union Congress, and have received excellent feedback from leaners. 

Three new eBites were launched on the CSP Learning Hub - the most ever in a single year - and the number of reps accessing the eBites has increased significantly during the pandemic.

The CSP joined other unions to express concerns about threats to Union Learning Fund and attacks on trade unions’ role in workplace learning.  We will continue to promote unions’ role in workplace learning in 2021.

3) Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The CSP is developing and preparing to roll out an equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, to back with action our commitment to address:  hate crime, direct and indirect discrimination, institutional racism and unequal outcomes for people on the basis of race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, disability or socioeconomic status.  

This year we have updated our Equality & Diversity Toolkit – a practical guide for CSP stewards, managers and members – and we are adding new information to our website about members’ rights with respect to discrimination at work.  We also run online, interactive training sessions on Tackling Racism in the Workplace for all our stewards and Health and Safety reps. 

4) HCPC cases and legal work: 

The CSP supported members in 66 HCPC cases, 44 of which remain open as of mid-November. We also handled 36 employment law cases.  We reached five settlement agreements (resolutions made out of court), and supported members in 18 personal injury cases.

5) External impact and reach

The CSP has represented our members in national- and UK-wide discussions and negotiations.  In England, the NHS Social Partnership Forum – consisting of the CSP, other trade unions and NHS employers – agreed a joint statement on how to pragmaticallydeal with low-level disciplinary and grievances cases during the first wave of Covid19.The CSP has been a key member of the Wales Partnership Forum’s Business Committee during the year, negotiating and agreeing Covid-19 FAQ’s, redeployment principles, a statement on industrial relations and facilities time and guidance on implementation of the Covid-19 workforce risk assessment.

Working with the NHS staff-side trade unions, we campaigned #WithNHSStaff for an early and significant pay rise.  We have also written to NHS trusts and decision makers, detailing our expectations around restarting and protecting rehab services and spaces.

6) Communications

CSP Senior Negotiating Officers made a major contribution to building and maintaining a dedicated Covid FAQ site, which has guided reps and members throughout the year. We published a daily Covid19 briefing, and redeployed staff to our enquiries team to operate a weekend out-of-hours service through the first wave of the pandemic.

We distributed associate membership toolkits to recruit and engage support staff.  These materials explain the importance of the physio support workforce; bust common misconceptions; and illustrate case studies of associate members’ personal development and career journey.  To complement, we also launched a new animation, ‘Join us – become on a member today’. Both available in English and Welsh-language.

7) Northern Ireland

In January 2020, CSP members in Northern Ireland - alongside other health staff - received an offer to bring pay into line with England. The offer followed the CSP running 20 workplace meetings - attended by around 300 members - and a consultative survey that demonstrated that members were prepared to take industrial action in support of better pay.

8) Scotland

Following concerns raised by stewards and safety reps, 80+ members participated in a CSP virtual meeting to discuss the issue of loss of physio/rehab space and issues around restarting services. CSP Chair Alex MacKenzie addressed the meeting along with Stewards from England who had successfully defended losses of physio space in their Trusts. The turnout and energy around the debate demonstrated commitment and strength among Scotland’s physio and support workers.

After the first lockdown eased we were hearing from our reps about problems physiotherapists were having in getting access back into schools – it felt as if they were applying the Scottish government guidance to harshly.  At a meeting with Scottish government present, we were able to raise the concerns and be reassured (and to pass that reassurance back through reps) that the health part of the department were in regular communication with education about this.  Our meeting with our reps allowed us to feed in relevant examples to those discussions.

9) Wales

Wales’ CSP team has strengthened its reps network this year. We now have at least two stewards, and two health and safety reps, elected in each NHS Board. We have also joining fortnightly trade union meetings with Wales’ minister for Health & Social Services, where we can discuss members’ pay, redeployments, and PPE issues directly with Government.

10) Casework:

We’ve maintained a high level of casework activity, covering both Covid specific demands and business-as-usual work. We have proudly represented members in the NHS and independent sector organisations.  

Here are some success stories from our Senior Negotiating Officers:

  • I’ve continued with hearings virtually, including those at the level of gross misconduct and have had successful outcomes for members, even without being able to get out there and meet reps and members.
  • I had a successful grievance hearing which included an issue linked to racism at work. This has proved to be a platform to organise members at the workplace.

CSP reps’ workplace wins are now featured regularly in our Frontline magazine. This lets all our members hear about the importance of workplace representation.  If you are a rep, why don’t you make a New Year’s resolution to tell us about a workplace win?

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