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Care Quality Commission pay ballot: results announced

10 Mar 2023

Members employed by the Care Quality Commission have voted in favour of taking industrial action in a statutory ballot.

Fair Pay For Nursing

For the last month RCN members employed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have been voting in a statutory ballot over their most recent 2022-23 pay award.

In July 2022, the RCN and four other trade unions called for a pay award of 5% above inflation (RPI). Despite this, in December 2022, CQC imposed a pay award far below this: 2.75% for Grade A staff, 3% for Grade B & C staff and 3.75% for Grades D to F staff. This came alongside a one-off payment of either £100 or £150. The RCN believes this pay award is unacceptable.

RCN members were asked to respond to our statutory ballot asking if they were prepared to take strike action or action short of strike.

The RCN’s ballot was open from 8 February to 8 March. 

We can now share the results, which are as follows:  

  • 60.29% of eligible members took part in the ballot  
  • 84.62% of members voted in favour of action short of strike 
  • 55.56% of members voted in favour of strike action.

The ballot asked if members are prepared to take strike action or action short of strike. Action short of strike means working strictly to the terms of your contract of employment, often referred to as “working to rule”. This can include taking all your contractual breaks, starting and finishing your shifts strictly on time, or refusing to undertake paid or unpaid overtime.  

The legal threshold for any industrial action, including action short of strike, is 50%. This means that the threshold has been met, and members have given the RCN a mandate for both forms of industrial action.  

Next steps will now be considered by the RCN Council and RCN Trade Union Committee, and the RCN will continue to work in collaboration with other unions representing CQC staff in this dispute.

RCN members employed by CQC play vital roles in preserving safety in our health and care services, and your strong mandate for industrial action, along with action from fellow unions at CQC, are powerful tools to resolve this dispute.  

Barry Hutchinson, RCN National Officer (Employment Relations), said: "We would like to thank all members who took part in this statutory ballot on industrial action. By voting in favour of industrial action, you’re sending a loud and clear message that enough is enough. CQC staff deserve better.  

“As your professional union, we are determined to continue to fight for fair pay for nursing for all our members, including those working outside the NHS, to ensure the profession is respected, protected and valued. You will be the first to know about the next steps we decide to take.”  

Members looking for more information on this can email the RCN directly with their questions:  


Page last updated - 08/08/2023