Southwater charity staff to vote on industrial action over pay dispute

RSPCA staff are voting on whether to take industrial action amid a pay dispute, a trade union says.

Staff at the charity, headquartered in Southwater, and members of workers’ union Unite are being asked if they wish to take industrial action in a row over pay and new contracts, according to Unite.

The RSPCA in Southwater. photo by derek martin ENGSUS00120120203161217

The RSPCA in Southwater. photo by derek martin ENGSUS00120120203161217

A spokesman said hundreds of workers at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are being sent voting papers in a consultative ballot designed to test the temperature on whether to proceed to a full-scale industrial action ballot.

Voting closes on Thursday December 5, he added

Unite regional officer Jesika Parmer said: “Negotiations between Unite and the management over the new pay framework proposals have broken down.”

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: “As a charity funded by public donations it’s crucial that we regularly review our pay and reward framework, particularly in the current challenging financial climate, to ensure it is fair to our staff, modern and affordable, and we use money wisely to fulfil our mission to help animals.”

The RSPCA is ‘extremely disappointed’ negotiations appeared to have reached an ‘impasse’, she added.

The spokeswoman said: “We will continue engaging with our employees - most of whom are not union members.

“Employees have been reassured basic pay is not affected, there is no proposal to freeze pay and there are no plans whatsoever to dilute any of our existing policies.

“The RSPCA entered into talks with Unite the union in good faith and with a genuine desire to reach an agreement and we remain committed to reaching a conclusion that is fair and affordable.

“We have listened closely to feedback from the union and staff, the majority of whom are not represented by the union, and have made a number of changes based on this.

“We will continue to keep our employees updated about our plans.”

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