CQC staff have begun voting in a strike ballot after being denied a pay rise this year.
Unison said that CQC employees have ‘endured years without a significant pay rise’ and that since the start of 2010 the value of their wages has fallen by almost 20%.
It comes after a 5% pay claim was submitted in June last year but since then inflation has risen to 5.4%, the highest level in nearly 30 years, and the CQC announced a pay freeze for all but the very lowest paid.
Unison said CQC employees ‘play a key role in ensuring the health and care sectors are safe’ and need to be recognised and given ‘a decent pay rise.’
Unison national officer Matt Egan said: ‘CQC staff are key to the safety of hospitals, care homes and emergency services around the country.
‘It’s the first time this group is being balloted for strike action. Their pay has failed to keep up with the rising cost of living. This must be addressed and reversed. Staff deserve a decent pay rise for the essential work they do.
‘Strike action is always a last resort. But there’s still time for the CQC to review its pay policy and give its workforce a long overdue pay boost.’
If they decide to strike they will be joining a long list of workers in the healthcare sphere in choosing industrial action.
At the beginning of January, the BMA announced that England’s junior doctors will strike for 72 hours in March should their ballot be successful.
More than 10,000 ambulance workers have already announced they will join nurses in a combined strike, which is expected to be one of the biggest in the history of the NHS, on Monday next week (February 6).
GMB announced four more national strike days as paramedics, emergency care assistants, call handlers and other staff will walk out on 6 February, 20 February, 6 March and 20 March.
On the first day of the fresh strikes, they will join tens of thousands of nurses who had already announced industrial action on this date.
Meanwhile, GPs in London have again been asked to provide clinical cover during ambulance strikes, as the next walkout is due next week.