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'Action for Children' unions ballot for industrial action in pay dispute

JANUARY 21, 2020

High-handed action by bosses over pay at the charity Action for Children has prompted Unite and UNISON to ballot their members for industrial action.

The dispute is over management offering no cost of living rise for 40% of the staff and imposing a 1% pay award on the rest of the workforce. They are also removing contractual pay increments for new starters, refusing to pay the UK living wage of £8.25 (£9.40 in London) and have cut mileage rates.

The workers have seen their standard of living falling dramatically over the last five years. The staff now feel that enough is enough!

  • Over the last 5 years pay rises have not kept pace with inflation
  • Average workers pay is now £16.7k down from £28.8k in 2010/11 - that is -52% in real terms
  • For the last 4 years AFC has made a surplus - last year £13.18m
  • Between 2013/14 and 2014/15 Directors' remuneration more than doubled
    • And CEO pay went up 28.13 %
  • The Trustees judge that £30m surplus is needed but currently reserves stand at £40.09m
  • The current offer is deeply divisive with hundreds of staff getting no cost of living increase at all
  • It is clear that this is another step towards removing incremental rights that are contractual

It's great that Action for Children has a healthy surplus, but when the organisation has seen average salaries half over 5 years, they should be using some of these reserves to fairly reward the staff.

The current median rise across the Voluntary and Community sector is 2.3% and based on the Action for Children total remuneration figures for last year, the organisation could pay staff a 2.3% pay increase and still leave total reserves of £38.4m.

The unions have worked hard to avoid a ballot for industrial action and are acutely aware of the commitment of the workforce to the children, young people and families they work with.  However, management have resolutely refused to go to ACAS to resolve the dispute.

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