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Unite to undertake consultative ballot action after RSPCA move towards performance-related pay

FEBRUARY 14, 2020

Unite is to undertake a consultative ballot on industrial action with its members at the RSPCA over proposed changes to pay and conditions by the charity.

The consultative ballot will run until 5 December and is designed to examine the strength of feeling amongst members before engaging into a full scale ballot.

The decision comes after the RSPCA announced plans to introduce performance-related pay for salary increments for all of the RSPCA’s 1,700 staff members.

Members will have to sign the new contracts by 31 March next year and if they refuse, could face dismissal.

The charity’s proposals could see staff allowances cut by 50 per cent, meaning an inspector losing on average between £2,000 and £4,000 a year.

The charity said the proposals had been made because it was facing challenging financial times and had to act to bring costs in line with income.

Despite attempts at early conciliation, talks have broken down and Unite feel that there is no option open to them currently other than the consultative ballot which, if successful, might them lead to a full-scale ballot of members on industrial action which could include a range of actions including a ban on overtime or a work to rule, whereby staff refuse to do work outside the organisation’s rules and regulations and strictly abide by contractual requirements.

Jesika Parmer, regional officer at Unite, said: "The management makes a great deal of the organisation’s financial difficulties and there are currently a number of major infrastructure projects that are millions of pounds over budget.

"However, it is simply not acceptable that front-line staff bear the financial pain for catastrophic mistakes made by senior project managers. According to the society’s own data, the number of senior managers has doubled since 2014 to a total of 37, yet the debt has grown."

Parmer said the ballot offered the RSPCA’s management a "window of opportunity" to re-enter constructive negotiations with the union.

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