Dean Rogers, SoR executive director of industrial strategy and member relations, has written to members following the strike action in England, with the following update on the dispute.
"This week, we received unprecedented exposure and media coverage during the 48-hour strikes at Trusts across England. Now the strike action has concluded, we are considering carefully how to follow these up to further our strategic aims – namely, improving pay and reward as part of tackling recruitment and retention challenges fuelling the radiography workforce crisis.
"Today we wrote to health secretary Steve Barclay, asking to meet for constructive talks. He had refused to talk to us while strikes were scheduled but we hope he is now prepared to engage seriously.
"On Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 August, we will meet with other health trade unions to discuss their current position and where they are likely to be over the coming months.
"We are very conscious that the sustainability of the 5% pay award has already come under strain. With the level of tax and deductions applied, with many radiography bank staff missing out on the bonus payments, and now with higher pay awards for other health and public sector professionals, there is no way that anyone could look at the deal many unions were pressured to accept and say it is fair.
"In addition, the deal was founded upon the promise that a) it would be fully funded and b) inflation would fall below 5% by now and 3% by Christmas. As neither of these have happened, or are likely to happen, unions have a basis to credibly revisit the deal. We will be pressing them to do so, alongside the other unions who have also rejected the award and remain in dispute.
"As we move forward, we will be consulting our reps and members in the Trusts which took action, as well as the areas which did not meet the Government imposed thresholds - over 70 of which were within 2% of meeting both thresholds.
"Strike mandates last for six months, so we are unlikely to rush to re-ballot because we would want to be able to use the threat of further action for as long as is possible. This would maximise the pressure on the government and also allow us to see how other unions respond to recent events.
"Overall, we are keeping our options open and looking to maximise impact of this week’s action. If people did not know about the radiography workforce and their central role in supporting patient pathways, many many more will know now. Likewise, awareness of the SoR’s role in being the voice of the radiography profession has never been higher. This is a direct result of the fantastic support and activism members have shown this week.
"I speak on behalf of all SoR staff in saying that your enthusiasm on the picket lines and social media has been both humbling and uplifting. I don’t think any of us have ever been prouder to support the profession. We are especially grateful to all the members who stepped up to tell their stories and humanise our arguments across the media, as well as all those who took part in the action, and those who provided the emergency skeleton services (that helped us win the public battle for hearts and minds), as well as those in Trusts unable to take part who encouraged and supported their colleagues.
"The impact in raising the profile of radiography and awareness of the workforce challenges is unprecedented. We now carry this momentum forward and hope the government will listen, engage and make the need for further action unnecessary.
Teaser - Pickets at Basingstoke and North Hampshire: Kenneth Christian Agustin
Header - Pickets at Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton: Eva Slusarek
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