Care Quality Commission staff to be balloted on industrial action over pay

Staff at the Care Quality Commission are to be balloted for possible strikes in a dispute over pay.

Members of Unison will vote in the new year after the union said they have not had a pay rise this year despite the rise in the cost of living.

Unison said staff at the commission, the regulator of all health and social care services in England, have seen the value of their pay fall by almost 20% over the past decade.

Unison submitted a 5% pay claim with several other unions in June, saying all but the lowest paid staff have been told they are subject to the public sector pay freeze.

National officer Matt Egan said: “These workers help to ensure the most vulnerable people in society receive safe and good quality care.

“It’s only right that the work and value of CQC staff should be recognised with a fair pay offer, given there’s a challenging winter ahead and how essential they are to the safe, efficient functioning of the health and care sectors.

“CQC employees are dedicated to their essential roles, so action is very much a last resort, but staff have had enough of years of falling pay. It’s not too late for the employer and the Government to find a way for workers to be given the wages they more than deserve.

“Unison is happy to work with the CQC to help it make the case to the Department for Health and Social Care for why a proper pay rise is more than justified.”

A CQC spokesperson said: “CQC like many other arms lengths bodies and Government departments are subject to the Chancellor’s announcement on public sector pay made in November 2020.

“The announcement set out that as part of the Spending Review (2020) there would be a temporary pause on pay rises for most public sector workforces in 2021/22, including the Civil Service.

“Whilst at CQC, we are not contractual Civil Servants, we are an arm’s-length body bound by the Civil Service pay guidance and rules.

“The pay guidance for 2021/2022 sets out the requirements of the pay pause. This does include, however, provision for colleagues on a full-time equivalent base pay of under £24,000 pa excluding overtime to receive a small uplift of £250.

“This has already been implemented in CQC. The arrangements for pay rises resulting from promotion continue, as does overtime and payment of allowances at the current rate.

“Whilst we know our recognised trade unions are disappointed with the restrictions the difficult reality is that we must adhere to the rules as set out. We have made the best and only pay offer permissible in the current circumstances.

“We are, however, looking to the future and will continue to work in partnership with our trade union colleagues on all aspects of pay and reward for the future.”

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