It is NIPSA’s assessment that while the current pay offer contains positive elements for some members it is not the best possible position that can be obtained at this time. 

The current pay offer contains below inflation pay rises in 2020/21 for the majority of health service staff who are at the top point on the pay bands and therefore does not address basic staff retention issues. 

NIPSA’s position remains the value of Scotland but we recognise that achieving that outcome would take further significant multi union industrial action.  Given the position of the other health unions that is not an immediate prospect.  With that in mind, NIPSA has engaged with the Department of Health in an attempt to achieve the best negotiated position for members at the top of their pay bands and on that basis we have opened discussions on an additional one-off payment that would bring all members above the rate of inflation.

Safe Staffing 

NIPSA recognises that the current safe staffing framework document contains welcome movement for our nursing members.  However, given the difficulty our members in other professions have in seeing themselves in the current document we believe that it should be supplemented to address issues in three other disciplines (e.g.) Admin & Clerical, Social Work/Social Care and other key support roles.

On that basis we have proposed to the Department the immediate establishment of three task forces to tackle recruitment, career progression and training.  We sought a commitment to fill all permanent vacancies on a permanent basis as well as looking at Agency spend. 

The Department has made a commitment to take these proposals to the Minister. 

Membership Consultation 

NIPSA has agreed with the Department that it will briefly postpone its consultation on the Pay and Safe Staffing documents until further correspondence has been received from the Minister/Department so that a complete proposal can be brought to members. 

Industrial Action 

Parallel to the discussions with the Department we are continuing to press our case through our industrial action strategy

  1. Action short of strike action continues across the whole Health membership.
  2. Legal notice has been issued to the Trust employers for a next phase of action. The action will begin on 3 February 2020. The action will consist of:
    • All Social Workers and Social Care Workers across all Trusts programmes in the acute and community - Non completion of all statistical returns;
    • Social Work and Social Care staff in Family & Childcare programmes in the Trusts - Non Completion of OC2 forms, Non Completion of REC 9 (case supervision) forms, Non completion of Corporate Parenting Returns;
  3. A further programme of action is being developed by branches and will be published in due course, your Branch Secretary will liaise with you on this detail.
Union Co-Ordination

From the outset of this dispute the health unions have had different objectives and tactics. That has meant, that at times, co-operation has not been possible.  However, while we continue to respect the sovereign authority of our sister unions, we strongly believe that where possible we should seek to agree our approach. 

With that in mind NIPSA has written to all other health unions seeking a meeting to discuss the way forward and if possible to come to a common view on the issues going forward. 

We will keep you informed as we move through these issues.  In the meantime if you have any queries please contact your Branch Secretary for information.

Maria Morgan
Assistant Secretary