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Advice to College of Podiatry (CoP) members in Northern Ireland on Industrial Action within Health and Social Care

Advice to College of Podiatry (CoP) members in Northern Ireland on Industrial Action within Health and Social Care

As you are aware some Health Unions in Northern Ireland are currently undertaking Industrial Action or are planning to over the next couple of months. The College of Podiatry is not directly involved in the industrial action. However, it is necessary to give some advice to members about what they can and cannot do in the current circumstances.    


  • Being removed from your normal duties
  • Being asked to provide cover for staff taking industrial action
  • Being asked to undertake overtime or additional hours to cover for those on industrial action


The legal position

It is only employees who belong to a Union that has undertaken a legal ballot that can take any form of industrial, from strike to work to rule. This means that CoP members cannot take any lawful industrial action at this stage.

How will this impact on my work?

It is important to talk to colleagues who are undertaking industrial action to find out what form of action they are taking (strike or action short of strike). If it is action short of strike, you will then understand what is involved and CoP members will know when they are being asked to take on additional non-contractual duties.

It is recognised that our members may have to cross an official picket line in order to undertake their contractual work and any refusal to cross the picket line may risk our members being subject to disciplinary action. All the Unions taking part in any form of action have stated they did not want patient care to be affected detrimentally.

CoP members should continue to fulfil their contractual duties of employment.

However, CoP members should not undertake any non-contractual duties or responsibilities given to them as a direct result of any industrial action. This includes –

How can I show support to colleagues taking industrial action?

The CoP would encourage its members to show support to other HSC unions and this can be done by joining in demonstrations outside of their working hours such as at lunchtime or weekends (although we would suggest you don’t wear your work uniform).

If you have any questions please contact the Employment Relations Department by emailing employmentsupport@cop.org.uk

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