02 Jun 2020

Health & safety, better pay, and better conditions. The reasons why trade unions exist. Now you’ve probably heard those three issues mentioned by the BDA Trade Union time and again but something doesn’t become less true just because it is repeated.

The Covid19 crisis has emphasised how much having someone in your corner at work is needed. Whether it is being actively engaged in calls for proper PPE in the workplace, lobbying for proper overtime pay, or communicating what we hear from dietetic staff to those responsible for health policy your BDA Trade Union is there for you.

The beauty of the trade union movement is of course that it’s not just some ‘one’ – it’s everyone. We draw our strength from our membership and with over nine thousand members that’s a lot of strength to draw upon. In addition to that the BDA Trade Union is an affiliate to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) whose members represent over five million workers. We work hard to ensure that our trade union is representative of its membership. Our recently established national executive committee ensures equality representation, dietetic support worker, and non-NHS places.

We’re particularly keen to encourage recruitment of Dietetic Support Workers to the BDA. As a trade union we are at our strongest when workers are banded together and able to present their common issues as one. Dietitians and Dietetic Support Workers all deserve a proper wage, a safe work environment, and dignity in the workplace.

So how do you get involved with your BDA Trade Union? Well first see if there’s a BDA Trade Union Representative in your workplace. If there isn’t a rep well congratulations! There’s an opportunity there for you if you want it… Get in contact with the BDA Trade Union team and we’ll start the ball rolling on how to become a rep. If there’s already a rep you can become a Workplace Contact – this involves receiving information from the BDA Trade Union team and also feeding back issues members want raised. Again, get in touch if that sounds interesting to yourself.

Of course being active doesn’t require you to have a specific position in the Trade Union structure (although that’s a great way to get active) but to be engaged with issues at work and feeding them back to your rep.

This is normally the part when we start extolling the opportunities of trade union conferences when you get to meet with fellow trade unionists both in and out of the NHS. Where you all get together from across the country in one large hall teeming with people… In the current environment that’s not something that’s going to occur. However the trade union movement is anything if adaptable (although historically it’s sometimes taken a bit of a run up first). Already unions are actively pursuing virtual meet ups to share information, best practice, and to underscore the solidarity that exists between workers.

Your BDA Trade Union publishes its own ezine ‘Activate’ which is orientated to Trade Union Reps, Workplace Contacts, and BDA Trade Union Activists. We’re keen to have members articulate the issues they and the profession face in their own words. We’re also eager to have member voices from a union perspective on the BDA website and in Dietetics Today. So, if you want to have your voice heard we’d love to have you contributing articles and updates.

One of the best ways to get involved is talk to your fellow dietetic workers about the BDA. If you’re already members you can discuss ways in which the BDA works for you and how you can make a difference to the BDA. If they’re not then it’s the same conversation – only highlighting that as a membership organisation the best way to make the BDA be what you want it to be is to join.

It’s your BDA Trade Union. Health & safety, better pay, and better conditions. How we do that depends on you. BDA members are professional, qualified, and unionised. Get involved and let’s see how we can build further.

BDA Blogs


David Hamblin

BDA Trade Union Campaigns, Communications, and Organising Officer, BDA