GP practice inspectors working for the CQC have voted in favour of strike action over pay – the first time the group has been balloted.
This was the first result of five ongoing votes over collective action among CQC staff who are members of Unison.
More than 700 workers were balloted and, of a 67% turnout, 73% said they would be prepared to take part in strike action, while 92% said they would be prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike.
Five unions – Unison, PCS, Prospect, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unite – have been balloting CQC workers, who inspect, monitor and regulate hospitals, care homes, GP practices and dental surgeries, as well as ambulance and mental health services, over pay award dissatisfaction. All are undertaking strike votes that have either closed or are about to close.
A CQC spokesperson confirmed that Unison members had voted in favour of strike action and that it was ‘awaiting further details’. They also said they were aware of a ‘small number’ of PCS member colleagues intending to join strike action planned for ‘later this month’.
Last December, CQC staff were given a pay increase of between 2.75% and 3.5% – lower than CPI inflation, which rose by 10.1% in the 12 months to January 2023. Employees also received a one-off payment of either £100 or £150, depending on their grade.
Unison national officer Matthew Egan said that, had wages kept pace with inflation, employees at CQC would be earning around a quarter more than they are.
‘Despite doing incredibly important work, staff have endured mounting financial hardship and watched as colleagues have departed for better paid work elsewhere. It’s not hard to see why so many have voted to strike,’ he said.
‘Ministers must give CQC the freedom to negotiate its own pay settlements with unions and allow managers to come back with a much better offer for staff.’
Industrial action planned for today (7 March) involving thousands of ambulance staff, nurses and paramedics, was suspended to allow Unison to enter pay talks with the Government.