The Health Central Panel met yesterday and I wanted to update further on the work that we have been doing with regards to Pay and other areas of concern to members.
The Health panel discussed the outline of a pay claim for 2021. An urgent pay subcommittee meeting will take place later this week, with a view to considering NIPSA’s position in relation to the views of the other health unions and to formalise a pay claim.
The underlying principle was agreed that a deal was needed that would start to address historical, below inflation or no pay increases and whether this should be a single or multi-year deal and a flat rate vs percentage increase.
NIPSA has also agreed to support the bringing forward of the April 2021 award date. A further bulletin will issue once this detail has been finalised.
It was also agreed that NIPSA would begin a campaign around pay and raise this with our members – this could include workplace and other campaign activity on pay and associated issues.
NIPSA had written to the health minister about the decision to re-introduce parking charges for staff, in what amounts a tax on workers, asking him to reconsider the position and scrap the charges, as has happened in England and Wales.
A socially distanced protest was also held outside the Royal Hospital by the Belfast HSC branch on the issue which was well supported by the branch and the general public and further action was planned to keep pressure on the minister to reverse the decision.
Rebuilding of Services
NIPSA at both a central and local level, continue to engage with HSC management about the rebuilding of services.
NIPSA had written to the minister with concerns about the lack of consultation from the Management Board and this was borne out by recent announcements about changes to A&E services and the establishment of hubs for day procedures and orthopaedics, neither of which there was any prior notice of.
NIPSA had also sought legal advice around the lack of consultation and the failure to carry out 12 week consultations in line with established practice and the legal framework and were consulting with the other health unions about how best to bring this forward in light of commitments given by the Minister to consult.
The health panel was due to set up a planning day to deal with the issue of how to respond to the rebuild, as issues were being dealt with on a trust by trust basis and some consideration was needed as to how to respond on a more strategic level, and it was hoped this could be done before the end of August.
This issue remains a priority, especially in light of rebuild plans, and a bulletin had issued earlier this week providing an update. NIPSA continues to meet regularly with the Department of Health’s management team and the other health unions on the reconvened Safe Staffing Group and are currently working on terms of reference for the various work streams.
Childcare remains a big issue for members, particularly with schools due to restart with differing levels of attendance and requirements from September, and NIPSA and the other unions have been raising this for many weeks. NIPSA has raised with the Minister, the Department of Health officials and the trust employers that this remains a significant issue for our members that must be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
A meeting with the policy leads in the Department of Health and the Department of Education has been requested in order that we can get reassurances on this issue for members as soon as possible.