Dietitians working in 43 NHS Trusts in England have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action, following the results of an industrial action ballot by the BDA's Trade Union and its members. The strike action will take place in March with a final date to be agreed in the next few days.
A large majority of members turned out to vote, demonstrating the strength of feeling amongst the NHS dietetic workforce that the pay award for 2022/23 is entirely unacceptable.
Pay for staff in the NHS has fallen below inflation year on year since 2010 and with the current cost-of-living crisis they are struggling to make ends meet whilst working extra shifts to care for patients. An award of £1400, which equates to around 4% for a mid-career dietitian is just not enough when inflation is running at over 10%.
This is the first time in the BDA Trade Union’s long history that strike action will go ahead based on pay.
Annette Mansell-Green, Director of the BDA Trade Union said, “No NHS worker wants to take strike action but we have reached a point where there is no other option. We remain available to enter into discussion with the Government and would be willing to pause our intended action in order to participate.
“Members are prepared to lose a day’s pay because they feel so strongly about the way that they have been long ignored and undervalued, with their pay falling behind the cost-of-living year on year since 2010. Enough is enough!”
The BDA Trade Union has today written to the Prime Minister to inform him of the results of the ballot and ask for the government, and in particular the Rt Hon. Steve Barclay Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to come to the negotiating table and engage with the BDA and other recognised NHS trade unions. You can read the letter here.
Along with other health unions the BDA has been asking the Government to engage in meaningful talks since July last year to find a way through what has become a difficult and protracted dispute.
Strike action will be paused if the Government is forthcoming with meaningful talks and a viable solution to the pay crisis. The BDA, however, is keen to stress that this must involve all NHS trade unions, to avoid prolonging strikes.
Annette added, “The BDA Trade Union stands in solidarity with all NHS trade unions and is dismayed that the Government has entered into discussions with just one of the 14 staff side unions. We are demanding a decent pay award that applies to members across the NHS. Dietitians are part of the NHS team and they all deserve better.”
The BDA is just confirming the results of a consultative ballot with dietitians in Wales on the new pay offer and will report the results in due course.
The results of the ballot in England can be found here.