Action for Children strike action suspended pending £60 offer

The trade unions Unison and Unite say they will consult their members at the charity on a one-off payment for every member of staff

Action for Children
Action for Children

The trade unions  Unison and Unite have suspended possible strike action at Action for Children, saying that the charity has offered to make a £60 one-off payment to each of its employees.

According to Unison, Action for Children made the offer during talks at the mediation organisation Acas last week. Members of the two unions will now be asked to vote on whether to accept the £60 payments.

Mike Short, a national officer at Unison, said members of his union had voted in favour of strike action over a proposed pay freeze, but this had been suspended while they were balloted on the new offer.

He said about 160 of the union’s 630 members at the charity had voted, and 113 of these had voted in favour of industrial action.

"The strike action has been suspended for the moment," he said. "The charity has offered a £60 payment across the board to each member of staff.

"Ideally, we would like to have agreed a consolidated pay increase for staff year on year. But in reality, most large charities are freezing staff pay.

"We feel the talks with Action for Children were productive, and the £60 offer is the best achievable outcome from the negotiations. It is now in the hands of members to decide whether they agree."

Short said Unison’s ballot would be carried out in the next fortnight.

Richard Munn, regional officer for Unite, said the union was also consulting members over whether to accept the £60 offer. "It is the best we can get through negotiation in the circumstances," he said. "That is what we are saying to members."

Unite has also put on hold possible industrial action after a ballot of its 1,000 or so members, which closed on 1 November, produced a majority in favour of a strike, said Munn. He said he could not recall the exact voting percentages or the turnout.

Action for Children would not comment on the £60 offer, but issued a statement that said: "In common with all charities at this time, we are currently operating in a very difficult economic climate and need to be realistic about the challenges we face.

"Action for Children has regularly met with union partners over a number of key issues, including pay. We most recently met with Unison and Unite on 4 November and had a constructive day of talks at Acas, the conciliation service. An agreement has been reached and plans for industrial action have been suspended while union partners consult with members on the agreement. All parties remain committed to continuing to negotiate to reach the best possible outcome."

A spokeswoman for the charity said it was unable to comment any further.

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