Action for Children strike action cancelled

Members of Unite and Unison had voted to strike today over a pay dispute, but now talks with the charity will go on at Acas

Union members at Action for Children have cancelled strike action planned for today to allow talks with management to continue.

Members of the unions Unite and Unison last month voted in favour of strike action in a long-running dispute about pay.

Turnout was 35 per cent for Unite members, which number 400 at the charity, and 25 per cent among the 700 Unison members working for Action for Children.

The unions have said that Action for Children plans to impose a 1 per cent pay award for 2015/16 with no cost-of-living rise for 40 per cent of the charity’s 5,000 employees.

They have said that Action for Children also intends to remove contractual pay increments for new starters, refuses to pay the UK living wage of £8.25 – £9.40 in London – and will cut mileage rates on claims for travel expenses.

The unions said that after talks with the charity’s management at the conciliation service Acas yesterday they had decided to suspend the strike action.

Unions said they had signed an agreement with charity managers that would extend the period for possible industrial action by four weeks to 10 April.

Andrew Murray, regional officer at Unite, said: "We will now continue our talks under the auspices of Acas in a constructive fashion to achieve an equable settlement for the hard-working staff at the charity."

Simon Watson, national officer (community and voluntary sector) at Unison, said: "We remain determined to resolve this dispute and get the best deal for Action for Children workers, who are dedicated to looking after children and families."

A spokeswoman for Action for Children said the charity was committed to reaching an agreement with the unions.

"The role that trade unions represent in the workplace is highly regarded by Action for Children," she said.

"We are happy that negotiations will continue in order to avoid the disruption that industrial action would bring to our services."

Action for Children had an income of £173.1m in the year to 31 March 2015, £6.6m less than in the previous financial year, according to figures on the Charity Commission website. The charity spent £159.9m in 2014/15.

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