Cafcass Pay offer rejected – Unions seek ACAS intervention

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Over the last fortnight, the Cafcass trade unions have been running consultative ballots on the derisory 2.51% pay offer covering the 2022/23 pay year. Given the impressive number of members that have attended joint meetings it is no surprise that Napo (97.3%) and UNISON (93.3%) members who voted, have overwhelmingly rejected the offer.

Following the dispute lodged by the unions last month, the General Secretary and Cafcass Napo Vice-Chair Nicola Taylor-Ebong joined Napo and UNISON representatives to meet with Cafcass senior management. Here we formally advised them of the ballot results and indicated our preparedness to suspend a potential Industrial Action ballot while we seek to exhaust all potential avenues to find a resolution of the dispute. The meeting saw some full and frank discussion, but unfortunately no resolution.  Under these circumstances, the procedure provides for either of the parties to seek the involvement of ACAS (The Arbitration and Conciliation Advisory Service). Following a request from the unions, the employer agreed to make the necessary arrangements for this to take place and ACAS have today made initial contact with the unions.

As previously advised, the unions have also written to the Minister with responsibility for Cafcass, Lord Christopher Bellamy KC to seek a meeting. We hope to point out the unfairness of the pay offer and the unreasonable constraints on Cafcass to at least match the recent c5% award to local authority social workers in England and Wales. We have been promised a reply by the Ministers office and we will issue more news on these developments as soon as we can.