Unite press release

For immediate release: Tuesday 28 February 2023

Strike action looms over the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Poor pay and anti–union behaviour provokes strike ballot and legal action

Members of Unite employed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) are preparing for strike action in a dispute over “pitiful pay.”

The College’s work includes raising awareness of the impact of low incomes on health outcomes but bosses have imposed a 2.5 per cent pay increase on its own staff which is a significant real terms pay cut.

Anti-trade union tactics by the Royal College during pay talks have also forced Unite to lodge a claim at an employment tribunal for what the union believes is unlawful behaviour (see notes).

Despite the RCPCH being £1.4 million ahead of budget, subsequent talks at ACAS only resulted in an increased offer of a pitiful 3.5 per cent, which has also been overwhelmingly rejected by Unite members when inflation (RPI) is 13.4 per.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “There is no way Unite will allow this Royal College to break the law in order to bulldoze through a pitiful pay deal when inflation is in double digits and workers are struggling to pay the bills.

“It’s hypocrisy to impose a significant real terms pay cut on workers when the Royal College itself warns about the impact of low pay on public health.

“The workers have Unite’s rock solid support in their campaign for fair pay and trade union rights.”

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, is the membership body for paediatricians in the UK and around the world. It plays a major role in postgraduate medical education, professional standards, research and policy.

Unite regional officer Matt Freeman said: “The Royal College should know better. The behaviour of senior management will not stand.

“It’s time to remind management of the work that the College does on behalf of paediatricians to raise awareness of health inequalities. Low pay, poor housing, food poverty and fuel poverty impact health outcomes. Royal College staff are not immune to these pressures.

"Our members also offer their full solidarity to paediatricians in the BMA who have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.”


Notes: Rather than continuing negotiations with Unite after workers overwhelmingly rejected the 2.5 per cent pay offer, bosses presented the pay offer to the employee forum which does not have negotiating rights then imposed the pay offer and bypassed the formally recognised union. Unite believes the College acted unlawfully by forcing their deal through against the wishes of staff.

Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315  

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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.