HV strike success

12 December 2019

The long-running Lincolnshire health visitors’ dispute is coming to an end with a pay victory that sees the vast majority of the workforce being upgraded.

The HVs suspended their month-long strike action last week (5 December), which was originally set to go on until tomorrow, while the authority upgrades the HVs. 

Unite hailed it a victory, with the agreement seeing most of the union’s members move onto the grade 10 pay scale.

However, Unite reserves the right to reinstitute strike action if the council does not abide with the agreement. 

As previously reported, the dispute had centred on the council’s insistence on different contracts for grade 9 and grade 10 HVs, while Unite has consistently argued that as all HVs have the same qualifications, they should be paid the same. The original strike action started back in July.

Unite regional officer Steve Syson said of the pay victory:
 ‘Thanks to the tremendous solidarity that our members have shown since this dispute started in the summer, we have achieved a highly significant and welcome victory.

‘The HVs’ determination against what they considered as a gross pay injustice was buttressed by the firm backing from the people of Lincolnshire and from supporters across the UK.’

Besides the grade 10 job roles, the HVs will receive between £2000 to £6000 in a one-off transitional payment. 

More than 70 Unite HVs voted for the month-long, now suspended, strike which started on November 18. Of those, about 58 will now be fast tracked to the grade 10 posts with 16 further Agenda for Change (AfC) staff awaiting confirmation; about 13 have left or are departing to take up alternative employment within nursing, which leaves a handful of relatively new HVs on grade 9.

Unite pledged that it would explore every avenue to get those still on grade 9 uplifted to grade 10 as soon as possible.    

Unite regional secretary for the East Midlands Paresh Patel added that he believes ‘a number of factors contributed to this positive outcome.’

He said these include ‘the fact that the council was, and even now, is continuing to lose highly skilled HVs at the rate of knots, as our members are offered alternative roles elsewhere in recognition of their experience.’

Paresh continued: ‘There was also the stark realisation by council bosses that our members were prepared to take further strike action on top of what they had already taken in the summer, after a second ballot confirmed they were prepared to continue on with further industrial action.

He added however that ‘this victory should be seen in the context of a broader campaign for a fully-resourced health visiting service across England – that fight will continue across the country in 2020.’

Picture Credit | iStock