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Date: Tues 18 September

Care regulators ballot over pay delay

Staff at the two organisations that regulate care staff and inspect Scotland's care homes, today start to vote on industrial action in an attempt to spur the Government's Public Sector Pay (PSP)Unit to ok negotiations on a pay rise that was due in April of 2006.

The Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (SCRC) and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) share offices, conditions and rates of pay. UNISON, the union that represents the majority of staff, had asked for a rise of £3.5% or £750 a year ago last May, but negotiations were held up by discussions to agree a new Pay and Grading structure.

As a government agency, the two bodies require approval from the PSP Unit for any pay deal, and the unit has repeatedly rejected a management submission.

Peter Ritchie, Secretary of the UNISON branch covering the two employers, said "We have partnership deals with our employers, and ministers often praise the important work that our members do protecting vulnerable children and adults - but they don't appear to be willing to pay for it."

Marion Adamson, UNISON's Regional Officer who deals with members in central public agencies said "The dead hand of this civil service unit means that the Scottish Government can effectively block negotiations and pay bargaining in a whole range of public agencies like these organisations. Even if we could get agreement with the employers, this unaccountable body can simply refuse and/or delay a fair pay deal for our members."

The staff who work to set training and educational standards, register staff working with children and vulnerable adults, inspect and regulate care homes and deliver other key protections, will be looking to take action that minimises impact on vulnerable people, but targets their employers and government. The industrial action ballot, which will ask if staff are prepared to take action 'up to and including strike action', will go out from today (18 September) and will run for 3 weeks.


For Further Information Please Contact: Peter Ritchie (Scottish Regulation of Care Branch Secretary) 07766 133 111(m) Marion Adamson (Regional Officer) 07904 326 812(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m)