SoR members in Northern Ireland are to be consulted on industrial action, including strike action, after ministers failed to make a pay offer or guarantee pay parity with England.
SoR National Officer for Northern Ireland Cora Regan (pictured) met secretary of state Chris Heaton Harris on Wednesday 5 April, alongside other trade union leads, to ensure member concerns around pay were heard.
Cora said: "Although it was a useful meeting where both sides spoke frankly, there were few assurances around what any future pay offer would look like for Northern Ireland. There was also no confirmation on whether Barnett consequentials would apply, arising as a result of the offer made to NHS staff in England.
"Alarmingly, there was also no assurance that the previously agreed pay parity with England would continue in the absence of a sitting health minister."
The secretary of state has agreed to meet with trade union leads again in the coming weeks but any pay offer is likely to be a long and protracted process in the absence of a functioning government. It is for this reason that the SoR is consulting members in Northern Ireland to gauge the strength of feeling on the current position.
Cora said: "We will be asking whether members are willing to accept being the UK’s poor relations in terms of pay and conditions, or if they are willing to take a stand and consider taking industrial action, including strike action. Radiographers are not a large workforce but we are a powerful one. The majority of clinical pathways rely on diagnostics and a large number of cancer pathways result in the requirement for radiotherapy intervention.
"Industrial action is a last resort for a workforce who stood quietly, but resolvedly, on the frontline during the pandemic. We want to do the job we were trained for, and to provide a high quality timely service for our patients, but the government’s failure to recognise our contribution has resulted in years of underinvestment.
"If we don’t act now our services will deteriorate, our workforce will continue to be undervalued and our patients will continue to suffer on long waiting lists. Make no mistake, if radiographers stand up we will be heard. By their consistent intransigence, the government has awakened a sleeping giant. The impact of our action will be felt across all healthcare services, both in primary and secondary care and beyond."
Cora said the SoR was simply asking for a fair pay offer for staff in Northern Ireland: "A pay offer that reflects the current cost of living crisis in which our members find themselves. A pay offer that ensures we are able to recruit and retain a skilled and resilient workforce. A pay offer which enables our profession to facilitate transformational change and safeguards our services for patients, both now and into the future. Have your say now!"
Northern Ireland members will receive an email to participate in the consultation - you can also click here to have your say.
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