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CQC staff vote to strike over pay

Published on: 6 Mar 2023

Hundreds of Care Quality Commission staff belonging to Unison have voted to strike over pay, the union has announced.

It said it had a mandate to strike, after three quarters voted in favour on a turnout of 67 per cent of its CQC members, of which there are around 700.

Almost 92 per cent of voters supported “action short of a strike”, which would include refusing overtime.

However, the union has not yet confirmed any strike dates. The 700 staff balloted from late January to early March worked across health and social care teams, call centres, clerical teams and data analysis.

Unison is one of five unions representing CQC staff which have or are currently balloting for industrial action over last year’s pay award. 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 other unions are: PCS, Prospect, the Royal College of Nursing and Unite. 

Unison, PCS and Prospect have closed their ballots.

PCS told HSJ a majority of its 53 CQC members had also voted to strike, and would do so on 15 March along with its other civil service members. Prospect has not responded to HSJ’s questions about the result of its ballot.

The CQC has around 3,000 whole-time equivalent staff.

HSJ reported last year the CQC had been lobbying the Treasury to be removed from civil service pay frameworks in a bid to increase staff salaries. Staff dissatisfaction was highlighted in its previous staff survey, which found 45 per cent were happy with how they were rewarded, amid wider concerns about its direction.

Unison national officer Matthew Egan said in a statement yesterday that ministers should give the CQC freedom to negotiate its own pay settlements.

Mr Egan said: ”CQC workers take pride in their jobs but have been taken for granted for too long. They earn significantly less than staff doing comparable jobs at organisations like NHS England, Ofsted and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.”

A CQC spokeswoman said: “We have received early indication from Unison that members have voted in favour of strike action and are awaiting further details. We are also aware that a small number of colleagues who are PCS members intend to join strike action planned for later this month.

“We will remain in close contact with Unison and other unions as this develops.”