Fair pay for fair work at CQC

UNISON members at the Care Quality Commission have voted decisively for industrial action over pay. 

In the strike vote, CQC staff were balloted by the union across England, including health, social care and registration inspection team members, call centre workers, administrators and clerical staff, data analysts, and staff in policy, strategy, engagement and media teams  

Of those who took part, 73% voted to strike and 92% voted for action short of a strike. 

We will be starting continuous action short of strike from Monday 17 April. This will take the form of work-to-rule and will include members working their contracted hours, working their contracted days, not working extra hours or overtime, not undertaking tasks out with their job role or job description and taking all statutory and contractual breaks. 

You have had a pay award imposed of between just 2.75% & 3.5%, along with a small non-consolidated payment despite the ongoing cost of living crisis. Given the soaring cost of living this represents a major pay cut.  

Inflation has been well above 10% during the year and remains at a 40 year high, which means the pay in your pocket will be worth less because it won’t keep up with rising prices. With the economy in such a precarious situation, food, fuel and utility bills are going to pinch more – so  every pound in your pay packet really counts. 

All CQC staff provide an essential public service supporting the safe functioning of our health and care systems. Our members say Enough is Enough – they deserve to be fairly paid. 

We know that taking action is not something you, as public servants, do lightly. Your job is incredibly important and people rely on you. But UNISON are experienced and effective negotiators.

You have endured years of pay cuts in real terms.  The value of your pay is now 25% lower than it was in 2010. Unless we say ‘enough’, the value of your pay will fall further, and those holding the purse strings will get away with it.  

You should be extremely proud of the job you do. Care Quality Commission workers help support our health and social care sectors and keep people safe.  Let’s stand up together and protect this vital work for future generations.  

How to get involved

Speak to colleagues about the issue 

Talk to your colleagues about the situation with their pay and encourage everyone to get involved. If you have any questions or need guidance, a document of frequently asked questions is available to view here:

Read the FAQs

Spread the word on social media 

Make sure that you use the hashtag #CQCPay 


UNISON is the largest union for staff at the Care Quality Commission (CQC). We support members with a whole host of issues, from the big ones such as pay and restructures, through to providing support for individual members. If you work for the CQC and you haven’t joined UNISON yet, or you are a member but you know someone who isn’t, it takes 5 minutes to sign up here:


Find out how your pay has decreased over time compared to the soaring cost of living 

You can use our new pay calculator to see how this pay award will affect your pay, and see what your pay would be if it met inflation:

Use the pay calculator now

You can also see how pay rises have often fallen way behind increases in the cost of living:

Year CQC pay award Rise in cost of living (as measured by Retail Prices Index)
2010 0% 4.6%
2011 0% 5.2%
2012 1% 3.2%
2013 1.2% 3%
2014 1.5% 2.4%
2015 1.25% 1%
2016 1% 1.8%
2017 1% 3.6%
2018 1.5% 3.3%
2019 2%* 2.6%
2020 2.5% 1.5%
2021 0% 4.9% **
2022 2.75-3.5% 11.7%

(* Staff at bottom of bands D, E +F awarded between 2.39% – 5.35%

** By September 2021 the RPI rate was 4.9%

Pay awards for staff at top of their band non-consolidated apart from 2020-21.

London, car user and homeworking allowances increased in line with pay awards)

You can also use the spreadsheet, in the Resources section, below, to see how far the value of your pay has fallen depending on when you joined the organisation. Enter your current level of pay into the yellow box and then go to the year in which you joined CQC to see the cut in the value of your wage since you joined.