Strike off at Action for Children as one-off payment is accepted

Pay freeze will go ahead at children's charity after union members accept £60

Action for Children staff have agreed not to strike in return for £60 each
Action for Children staff have agreed not to strike in return for £60 each

Staff at Action for Children have agreed not to strike over a proposed pay freeze in return for a one-off £60 payment for all employees.

Members of the unions Unison and Unite have voted to accept the payments, offered by the charity last month, concluding a pay dispute that began in January.

Mike Short, a national officer at Unison, said 204 of his union’s members at the charity had voted in a ballot on whether to accept the £60 payments as a conclusion of the dispute. He said 167 of these voted in favour. The money would be paid before Christmas in employees’ December pay packets, he said.

"No one is pretending that this is a fantastic settlement," he said. "We would prefer a pay increase for all staff that took into account the rising cost of living. But we recognise that these are difficult times for the whole voluntary sector, not just Action for Children."

In a consultative ballot held in August, the majority of those who voted at both Unison and Unite said they were in favour of industrial action and would vote yes in a strike ballot. The charity made the £60 offer in talks at the mediation organisation Acas after that ballot.

Short said all staff who were basic-rate taxpayers would now be given a payment worth £60 after tax. Higher-rate taxpayers would receive a slightly lower payment, he said, because it would be taxed at the higher rate.

He said Unison and Unite had jointly accepted the offer. Nobody from Unite was available for comment.

Richard Cove, executive director of HR at Action for Children, said: "Throughout negotiations, all parties were committed to finding a resolution that reflected the impact of the current economic climate on staff, but also on Action for Children."

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