Care Quality Commission staff belonging to four trade unions will begin “action short of a strike” from Monday, HSJ has learned.
In a message posted on the CQC staff intranet and leaked to HSJ, the regulator confirmed members of the Royal College of Nursing, Prospect, Unite and Unison will take action from 17 April, which could continue for up to six months.
CQC union members voted to strike over pay last month with almost 92 per cent supporting ASOS. This will see staff working to contracted days and hours, taking all statutory breaks and not taking on voluntary overtime, among other actions.
A mandate was also reached for full strike action, and it is understood the unions are in discussions about specific strike days, although this is yet to be confirmed. Staff belonging to the PCS union went on strike on 15 March, along with other members of the civil service.
In the message, the CQC said it “operates on employee goodwill, as well as contractual obligation, and the point of ASOS is to draw attention to this fact. ASOS can result in organisations running slower than they usually would.”
Last year, CQC staff were given a pay increase of between 2.75 per cent and 3.5 per cent, with employees also receiving a one-off payment of between £100 and £150. The regulator has been lobbying the Treasury to remove it from civil service pay frameworks, in a bid to increase staff salaries.
A CQC spokeswoman said: “Four of our recognised trade unions, RCN, Prospect, Unite and Unison, have given notice that from Monday 17 April, their members will be taking action short of a strike (ASOS).
“We will remain in close contact with the unions as this develops.”
The regulator also said it was restricted by civil service pay guidelines and sought to give the maximum pay award it could in September 2022.
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.
“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.”
The other unions did not respond to HSJ’s request for comment.