Council promises new pay scheme as health visitor strikes continue

Lincolnshire County Council said it will implement a career and pay progression scheme as health visitors continue their campaign over pay and standards.

As previously reported, health visitors under the Unite union gathered outside county council offices last month to demand pay rises. More strikes and rallies will also take place this month.

Union officials say the staff have not had a pay rise since they were transferred from the NHS to Lincolnshire County Council in 2017, and are losing more than £2,000 a year.

The council’s planned career and progression scheme would mean health visitors will be offered salaries beyond those available in the NHS.

Heather Sandy, Interim Director for Education, said: “Following requests from the Unite union, the council has continued to engage in talks overseen by ACAS to try to resolve the current dispute.

“Unite represent approximately one third of our health visiting workforce and recent talks have been constructive. The council are considering some suggestions discussed within the meetings with the aim of reaching agreement with the union but we remain committed to moving ahead with career progression plans for our health visitor workforce.

“We value the professionalism and work of our health visitors and the support they provide to Lincolnshire families and have always been keen to avoid strike action.

“The council will now implement a career and pay progression scheme which would mean health visitors will be offered salaries beyond those available in the NHS. For those at the higher end of these salaries, evidence of their competencies to work at that senior level will be required.

“We continue to have plans in place to cover absences, particularly in the most vulnerable areas such as safeguarding, primary birth visits and families with the highest levels of need. No-one will be left without support.”

Unite, who remain open for constructive dialogue with the council 24/7,  said that 58 health visitors will be holding demonstrations in Gainsborough, Lincoln and Louth this week, as well as two further 48 hour strikes.

Steve Syson, Unite regional officer, previously claimed the attitude of the council is “immoral as it is denying our members legitimate pay rises.”