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Action for Children staff balloted over strike action

UNISON and Unite are balloting more than 1,000 Action for Children members for strike action, following a pay freeze and attack on terms and conditions.
  
The move follows the breakdown of eight months of pay negotiations and comes against a backdrop of rising inflation.
 
Terms and conditions at Action for Children are being reduced overall. The charity is currently consulting on changes proposed to the redundancy policy. These include reducing the period of protected pay, following redeployment to a lower paid job, from two years to under a year.
 
Last year, the defined benefit pension scheme was also closed, leaving employees with an inferior defined contribution scheme.
 
Dave Prentis, UNISON’s General Secretary, said:
“Charity workers’ jobs have become increasingly difficult, with the pressures placed on them by the Government’s cuts, at the same time as rising demand for services.

“The standard of their work is still high, yet they are effectively being hit by a drop in pay, in the face of rising inflation.

“Action for Children has refused to respond to our concerns over the past eight months. Industrial action is a last resort, but the only way to convince the charity that staff deserve a fair pay rise.

“We are urging Action for Children to think again, and make an offer that reflects the hard, high quality work these staff do every day.”
 
Unite national officer for children’s charities, Mike Robinson, said:  
“Action for Children staff do an amazing and extremely difficult job. They are essential to supporting vulnerable children and their families and are in the vanguard in the fight against child poverty.

“Despite their significant contribution to the Big Society, their pay is low, compared with the average support worker, with many earning on average £20,000-a-year, and many domestic and admin staff are on between £11,000 - £18,000.  Their pay is not keeping pace with inflation and that’s putting our members into further financial hardship".

For more information please contact the UNISON Press Office on 0207 1215 255 and/or Unite communications officer, Shaun Noble on 07768 693940:

Notes to editors:

UNISON’s ballot closes  in mid October, Unite’s closes at the beginning of November.
 
 Action for Children employs about 5,000 people, and mainly works in providing family and community services and, to a lesser extent, residential services, through contracts the charity holds with local authorities. 

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