Physiotherapists in Wales vote to strike over pay
Physiotherapists in Wales have voted overwhelmingly to strike in their first ever ballot on pay.
Turnout was 63%, with 89% voting yes to strike action and 94% yes to action short of strike.
Physios in England also voted to take strike action, with 84% voting in support and 92% backing action short of striking on a turnout of 53%.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) said overall 54% of its members voted in the ballot and of these, 84% voted yes to strike action and 93% yes to action short of strike.
Physiotherapists in every health board in Wales and 112 organisations in England now have a mandate for strike action and will begin the process of planning for industrial action early in the new year.
Claire Sullivan, director of employer relations and union services at the CSP, said: “There is not a single physiotherapist or support worker who wants to strike.
“NHS staff want to be at work, treating, rehabilitating, caring for their patients, but the current staff shortages across the NHS are making this more difficult every day. This workforce crisis simply cannot be solved without better pay.
“Our members have now delivered compelling support for industrial action in support of fairer pay. In any industrial action we will always ensure the safety of patients is safeguarded – but NHS strikes remain entirely avoidable.
“Once again, I urge the Government to respond to our repeated health union calls for immediate pay talks for the NHS.”
Luke Tobin, a physiotherapist in south-east Wales, said: “Every CSP member I have spoken to regarding the ballot has voted to take industrial action, which is unprecedented for the physiotherapy workforce.
“At our heart is maintaining high quality patient care, but we simply can’t continue to operate under the current workforce pressures, without an increase in pay.
“Years of real-terms pay cuts have influenced the ability of the NHS to recruit and retain staff, resulting in shortages and inadequate working conditions for our members and subsequently poorer outcomes for patients.
“We don’t want to strike, we can’t afford to strike, but we feel that our options have been completely exhausted. We have to remain hopeful that there will be a renewed offer, one that doesn’t leave us with no other choice but to walk out.”
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