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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

UK Council thanks members for industrial action resolve

SoR on strike

UK Council of the Society of Radiographers wishes to place on record its admiration and thanks to Society members throughout the UK that have shown strong resolution, purpose and commitment in pursuing fairness of treatment of NHS staff over pay in the recent dispute.

This is a dispute which need never have taken place. The UK governments’ ideological disregard for the NHS workforce was demonstrated starkly in their refusal to honour the independent pay review body recommendation. It seems likely that this indifference was backed by a false reassurance that professional NHS employees would not have the will to oppose the pay freeze. This further demonstrates the governments’ disengagement with the process of healthcare delivery.

Healthcare professionals recognise that fair treatment of the workforce is coupled with better outcomes for patients. There comes a point when professionals are obliged to stand up for fair treatment of themselves and their colleagues in the patient and public interest. That point was reached in this dispute as dramatically demonstrated by Society of Radiographers members’ willingness to take strike action when necessary and to sustain that action until a resolution was achieved.

Support from the British public and messages of solidarity from radiographers around the world helped to demonstrate that our members’ cause was just and appropriate. Even more remarkable was the astonishing response on social media offering a ‘real time’ demonstration of common cause on picket lines up and down the country.

The 2015 pay settlements in England, Wales and Scotland fully meet the objectives set at the outset for most members throughout the UK although the campaign for fairness for those in the highest pay bands continues. There is no doubt that it was the determination of members throughout the UK that made this possible.

The national elections in May will determine the future for all public services across the UK and as a health care profession and union that has fought so hard to achieve so much, we need to take the fight and our resolve to the politicians of all parties and leave them in no doubt that we are not prepared to see the NHS fragmented or destroyed by political posturing over austerity and restructuring that will ultimately affect jobs, patient care and services.

It is to be hoped that it will be many years before Society of Radiographers members are again provoked to the extent that industrial action is necessary. However, we must ensure that the record demonstrate that the 2014/15 pay dispute formed a landmark in the history of the Society of Radiographers and in the ability of professional trade unions to bring about positive change for their members and for patients through unified action.

It is for this reason that UK Council commends this statement to Society members through the auspices of the delegates’ conference.

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