Care Quality Commission staff balloted over strike action

Five unions launch vote over unacceptable, imposed pay award

Staff at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have begun voting for industrial action over pay, say unions today (Friday).

Five unions – UNISON, PCS, Prospect, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unite – are balloting workers who ​inspect, monitor and regulate hospitals, care homes, GP ​practices and dental surgeries, as well as ambulance and mental health services.

The UNISON and PCS strike ballots began last month, and the others open over the coming weeks. Voting ends either later this month or in early March.*

A pay claim for an above-inflation pay rise was submitted by the unions last summer. Since then, the cost of living has soared, say the unions.

In December, the CQC imposed an increase of between just 2.75% and 3.5%, on staff, along with a one-off payment of either £100 or £150. The five unions say this amounts to a major cut in salary. They add that since 2010, wages have fallen by as much as a quarter in real terms.

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.”

Unite national officer Jacalyn Williams said: CQC workers perform a crucial role ensuring patients and those in need of care are kept safe and the services they receive are running properly. Instead of being recognised for this, they have been forced to shoulder years of pay cuts. They need a proper pay rise now.”

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.”

Notes to editors:
–*The ballot opening and closing dates are:
UNISON: Thursday 26 January to Thursday 2 March 2023
PCS: Monday 16 January to Monday 27 February 2023
Prospect: Wednesday 1 February to Friday 24 February 2023
RCN: Wednesday 8 February to Wednesday 8 March 2023
UNITE: Dates to be confirmed

Media contacts:
UNISON – Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E:
PCS – Tim Lezard M: 07810 641459 E:
Prospect – Graham Moonie M: 07889 337719 E:
RCN – Nick Spears M: 020 7647 3633 E:
Unite – Ryan Fletcher M: 07849 090215 E: