CQC staff start voting in industrial action ballot amid dispute over pay

Staff at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have started voting for industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Members of five unions – Unison, the PCS, Prospect, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unite – will vote in the coming weeks on whether to mount a campaign of industrial action.

Their work includes the inspection, monitoring and regulation of hospitals, care homes, GP ​practices and dental surgeries, as well as ambulance and mental health services.

A claim for an above-inflation pay rise was submitted by the unions last summer, since when the cost of living has “soared”, they say.

The unions say the CQC imposed an increase of between 2.75% and 3.5%, on staff in December, along with a one-off payment of either £100 or £150.

The five unions say this amounts to a major cut in salary.

Unison national officer Matt Egan said: “CQC staff play a vital role keeping patients and anyone needing wider health and social care support safe, but their pay has been chipped away year after year.

“It’s time they got a decent pay rise, and were recognised for their work, not undervalued and undermined.”

Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “The regulator needs to be able to recruit and retain skilled staff to maintain high standards and safety in health and social care.

“That means paying a decent wage. Yet another real-terms pay cut is simply unacceptable.”

RCN national officer Barry Hutchinson said: “The skills and expertise of nursing staff are integral to providing safe and effective care in every health and social care environment.

“The real-terms pay cuts experienced by staff responsible for regulating and maintaining care standards at CQC are unacceptable and put safe care at risk.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This award has been imposed by the Government and after 12 years of pay cuts in real terms, and the increasing cost of living, there’s no choice but to stand up to the increasing damage being done to the public sector, its services and workers.”

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