CSP members in Northern Ireland have voted overwhelmingly to move to an industrial action ballot following a consultative survey. This ballot is the necessary next step to potentially allow members to take legal strike action.
Health and social care staff in Northern Ireland are yet to be offered a pay uplift for 2023/24 and have received no additional pay award for 2022/23 leaving them once again as the lowest paid across the UK.
The consultation, which ran throughout June 2023, saw a turnout of 63 per cent.
93 per cent of those who voted said they were prepared to take industrial action unless an offer was forthcoming.
An extraordinary meeting of the CSP Council agreed the CSP should move to an industrial action ballot and are recommending members vote in support of action.
Ishmael Beckford, Chair of CSP Council
The situation in Northern Ireland cannot continue. At a time when recruitment and retention is so critical, and the cost of living crisis is having such an impact, we cannot afford to lose more HSC staff due to pay.
'We desperately need to find a way to address pay but without a functioning executive to make decisions, it is unclear how the situation will be resolved.
'We have reached the milestone of pay being addressed in England, Wales and Scotland and so this leaves Northern Ireland as an outlier and puts our members who live and work there in a fragile and unsettling position.'
Claire Ronald, senior negotiating officer said:
'The CSP will continue to work closely with other health unions as we take this dispute forward and we will explore all options to resolve the dispute through talks if possible.
'Considering industrial action is always a last resort for HSC staff who are dedicated to their patients, their colleagues and the services they provide. The CSP has never held an industrial action ballot for pay in Northern Ireland and such a decision is always taken with great reluctance.'
Next steps for members in Northern Ireland
The CSP will now be finalising arrangements for the ballot which is likely to open in August and close in early September.
There has been a clear strength of feeling shown by members in the consultative ballot. We now need members to have their say in the formal ballot. A strong turn-out is critical to making our voice heard and ensuring we have a mandate to call members to take action.
Update your details
To ensure we can meet the complex legal requirements and that all those eligible receive their ballot paper, all members must ensure the following is up to date in your CSP website account:
- Contact details
- Home postal address
Further information will be provided as we move toward the ballot opening.
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