Care Quality Commission staff start voting on whether to strike over pay

Staff at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England will begin voting on Friday on whether to go on strike over pay.

Unison said the staff, who inspect, monitor and regulate hospitals, care homes, GP practices and dentists, are being denied a pay rise this year.

The union said its members have endured years without a significant pay rise, claiming that since the start of 2010, the value of their wages has fallen by almost 20%.

Unison submitted a 5% pay claim last June, saying the CQC has announced a pay freeze for all but the very lowest paid.

National officer Matt Egan said: “CQC staff are key to the safety of hospitals, care homes and emergency services around the country.

“It’s the first time this group is being balloted for strike action . Their pay has failed to keep up with the rising cost of living. This must be addressed and reversed. Staff deserve a decent pay rise for the essential work they do.

“Strike action is always a last resort , but there’s still time for the CQC to review its pay policy and give its workforce a long overdue pay boost.”

A CQC spokesperson said: “CQC, like many other arms-length 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.

“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 p.a. 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.

“We have throughout this period engaged with our joint trade unions, recognising this exceptionally challenging time. We also are extremely proud and value each and every one of our colleagues for the contribution they make.

“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.”

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