Health visitors to strike again this week over pay

Health visitors will strike again this week over over pay and an “erosion of professional standards.”

They will be touring the county this week starting in Boston on Monday, July 22 before visiting Louth and Gainsborough on July 25 and July 26.

Last week around 15 of the nurses, who visit children and families at home, gathered outside the Lincolnshire County Council offices in the city with flags and placards.

Union officials said the staff have not had a pay rise since they were transferred from the NHS to the county council in 2017.

In what was believed to be the first health visitor strike action of its kind, Caroline Fisher told The Lincolnite that she has been waiting eight years for a pay rise.

“This pinches into my pocket and my family’s,” she said. “I should be planning for my retirement this year, but instead I’m having to defer it.”

Unite Regional Officer Steve Syson said: “A lot of those here today are 20-year people at the top of their band and our view is they should be in the top pay, but instead they’ve been offered the lower level…they should be renumerated properly.”

Unite said the council has created a two-tier health visitor service and placed trained professionals on the lower tier, and therefore the lower pay band.

He said a new role created by the authority was “not fit for purpose” and has been a downgrade of health visitors’ professional status, while the workload remains the same.

Interim director of education at Lincolnshire County Council, Heather Sandy, has previously said the authority “highly values the role of health visitors as part of our workforce” and called them “an essential part of children services”.

“We have always been prepared to sit around the table with Unite and will continue to be available for further talks so we can resolve the issue as soon as possible,” she said.

“We wish to reassure the public that if these strikes go ahead, we have plans in place to cover absences, particularly in the most vulnerable areas.”