Movement on pay needed to avoid delays and cancellations of CQC inspections, says UNISON

Without CQC staff, all sorts of abuses, malpractice and neglect would go unnoticed.

Staff at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will strike today (Tuesday) in their ongoing dispute over pay, says UNISON today (Tuesday)

Employees represented by UNISON, including those working in inspection teams, call centres and data analysis, will walk out along with colleagues belonging to PCS and Unite.

There will be severely reduced capacity at call centres to deal with reports from the public about serious concerns, emergency inspections may not take place and planned visits may be delayed or cancelled, says UNISON. The CQC is already under strain because of the huge demand on its services, the union warns.

Last month, CQC staff started a continuous work to rule that is due to continue until September. This means they only worked the hours for which they are paid, refuse overtime and take all their breaks in full.

UNISON says staff have been given an inadequate pay rise, despite having to work extra hours because of their excessive workloads. The situation has been worsened by growing vacancy levels as staff desert the commission for better-paid jobs, adds the union.

Employees voted to strike after they received a pay increase of between 2.75% and 3.5%. They were also given a one-off payment of £100 or £150 in December, depending on their salary grade.

UNISON national officer Matthew Egan said: “Without CQC staff, all sorts of abuses, malpractice and neglect would go unnoticed in health and care services.

“The strike will have an inevitable impact on the commission’s work with delays and cancellations to inspections, worsening the huge backlog. Without government intervention the dispute could escalate and drag on for months.

“Wage levels at the commission simply don’t reflect its essential work that makes a real difference to the care and treatment of huge numbers of people. Improving pay will make a real difference in stemming the staff exodus.

“The CQC has to think again about this substandard pay award and has to be allowed to negotiate with unions directly to avoid further disruption.”

Note to editors:
– In March 2023, more than 700 workers represented by UNISON took part in a ballot in which 73% voted to strike and 92% backed action short of a strike.
– Staff will be at picket lines at the following CQC locations:
Newcastle – Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4PA (9am to noon)
Nottingham – Seaton House, City Link, Nottingham, NG2 4LA (9am onwards)
Manchester – City Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, (Piccadilly Gardens entrance), Manchester, M1 4BT (8.30am onwards)

– UNISON is among five unions with mandates for industrial action. Prospect have a mandate for action short of strike only and PCS a mandate for strike. UNISON, Unite and the RCN have mandates for both. But only UNISON, Unite and PCS are on strike on 2nd May.
– 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.

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