Nurses who help inspect, monitor and regulate health and care services are among staff at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) soon to be balloted on industrial action over pay.
In the coming weeks, five unions, including the Royal College of Nursing and Unison, said they will ballot members working at the CQC over what has been described as a “major cut” in salary.
“The real-terms pay cuts experienced by staff responsible for regulating and maintaining care standards at CQC are unacceptable”
If voted for, this could see workers at the health and care sector regulator take industrial action in the coming months, warned the unions in a statement issued today.
In December, the watchdog imposed a pay increase of between 2.75% and 3.5% for staff, as well as a one-off payment of between £100 and £150.
The unions claim that, since 2010, CQC staff wages have “fallen by as much as a quarter in real terms”.
Members of the RCN who work for the CQC will be formally balloted from Wednesday 8 February to Wednesday 8 March.
Meanwhile, Unison’s ballot opened on Thursday 26 January and runs until Thursday 2 March.
The union Prospect has also been balloting its members since Wednesday 1 February and will do so until Friday 24 February.
In addition, the PCS union has been balloting members since Monday 16 January and will continue to do so until Monday 27 February.
Meanwhile, the union Unite is yet to confirm its ballot dates.
RCN national officer Barry Hutchinson said: “The skills and expertise of nursing staff are integral to providing safe and effective care in every health and social care environment.
“The real-terms pay cuts experienced by staff responsible for regulating and maintaining care standards at CQC are unacceptable and put safe care at risk.”
The ballot comes as thousands of NHS nurses continue to stage strike action over their below-inflation pay awards for 2022-23.
Unison national officer Matt Egan added: “CQC staff play a vital role keeping patients and anyone needing wider health and social care support safe.
“But their pay has been chipped away year after year. It’s time they got a decent pay rise, and were recognised for their work, not undervalued and undermined.”
A CQC spokesperson said: “We are restricted by civil service pay guidelines and worked closely with the unions to maximise our pay award in line with these.
“We will remain in close contact with the unions as this develops,” they said.