Physiotherapists in Wales to vote on strike action over pay
Physiotherapists in Wales have started voting on whether to strike over pay, increasing the threat of widespread industrial action in the NHS across the UK before the end of the year.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is balloting its members in Wales and England on pay for the first time in its more than 100-year history.
The ballot will run until mid-December and the CSP is recommending its members across 200 NHS employers vote in favour of strike action.
The move follows physiotherapy staff overwhelmingly rejecting a pay award in September and last week’s decisive result from CSP members in Scotland to vote to strike.
Alex Mackenzie, chair of the CSP council, said: “The fact that physios are having to consider striking over pay shows just how under pressure our health system is.
“We are working under enormous stress due to huge waiting lists and a staffing crisis, and a pay offer that is half the rate of inflation is both shocking and insulting.
“If the Government does not come back with a decent offer in line with inflation and one that benefits all, then more physiotherapy staff will be forced to leave.
“We currently have a workforce crisis on our hands. If more physios leave due to such a low pay rise this will ultimately impact on patient care.
“The Government simply can’t afford to stall on this any longer, especially as we head into the winter months when NHS pressures will only build, and patient care is paramount.”
Luke Tobin, a physiotherapist based in Wales and a CSP steward, said: “Speak to any physio and they will agree, it is a privilege to do the job we do: working with patients to achieve meaningful goals to improve their quality of life.
“None of us came into this profession to make vast sums of money, but we expect to earn a fair wage that reflects our skills, experience and value that we add to the health service for our patients.
“Sadly, working conditions and pay continue to worsen for CSP members, forcing some to leave the NHS as their pay has been eroded over the last decade and making the NHS a less attractive employer for many.
“None of us want to impact on our patient’s care by walking out over pay, but we will be voting on this most disruptive form of industrial action as a very last resort.
“It is a final attempt to have our voices heard by the Government to reward CSP members and all other NHS staff fairly for the jobs they do under increasingly difficult conditions – an attempt to keep those staff by paying them fairly and continue to attract new talent and skills into the health service for years to come,” he added.
The Royal College of Midwives is also due to ballot its members in England and Wales with a recommendation to vote in favour of industrial action over pay.
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing is due to announce the result of a strike ballot later this week which is expected to show huge support for action over pay.
Members of other health unions representing staff including ambulance crews, paramedics and hospital porters and cleaners are currently voting on strikes in the same pay dispute.
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