Care Quality Commission staff will work to rule over pay

Hundreds of staff at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are to work to rule from next week in a dispute over pay, says their union UNISON today (Friday).

CQC staff, who belong to UNISON, including inspectors of health and social care organisations, workers in call centres and data analysts, will be among those taking action short of a strike from Monday (17 April).

CQC employees will do no more than the minimum required under their job contracts, says UNISON. This includes only working the hours they are paid for, not doing overtime and taking all the breaks to which they are entitled.

In March, more than 700 workers represented by UNISON took part in a ballot in which 73% voted to strike and 92% for action short of a strike.

The ballot was held because the union was unhappy with a pay increase of between 2.75% and 3.5%, received last December. Employees also received a one-off payment of £100 or £150 depending on their salary grade.

UNISON is among five unions that have asked their members to vote for industrial action. PCS, Prospect, the Royal College of Nursing and Unite are the others.

CQC staff regulate health and social care services across England including hospitals, care homes, GP practices and dental surgeries to ensure care is delivered safely.

The health and social care regulator is facing a staffing crisis because of low pay, says UNISON. As workers quit for better wages elsewhere, staff left behind are under further pressure to take on the extra workload, adds the union.

The CQC is bound by civil service pay guidelines and rules, so does not have the freedom currently to negotiate pay settlements with unions.

UNISON is calling for this to be changed so managers can agree improved wage offers for staff.

UNISON national officer Matthew Egan said: “The fact so many CQC staff voted for action speaks volumes. They’re woefully underpaid and undervalued, and deserve much better.

“For a decade, they’ve seen their wages falling behind inflation. Now the cost-of-living crisis is leaving many struggling.

“CQC workers do a vital job to make sure safe care is delivered. This needs to be recognised by the government with a fair pay increase.”

Note to editors:

– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.