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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Charity strike action called off at eleventh hour

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Vital services run by children's charity would have been compromised by national strike action

Staff at a children’s charity have called off strike action at the eleventh hour.

Action for Children workers were due to strike today (9 March) over pay and working hours.

However unions met the charity’s management at the conciliation service Acas yesterday afternoon and thrashed out an agreement extending the period for possible industrial action by four weeks to 10 April.

Parties say they’ll use the time for constructive talks aimed at ending the ongoing dispute.

The strike would have been UK-wide, affecting the 80 services and 600 staff the charity has in Scotland.

Unite regional officer Andrew Murray said: “We will now continue our talks under the auspices of Acas in a constructive fashion to achieve an equable settlement for the hard-working staff at the charity.”

We remain determined to resolve this dispute and get the best deal for Action for Children workers - Simon Watson

Simon Watson, Unison national officer for the community and voluntary sector, added: "We remain determined to resolve this dispute and get the best deal for Action for Children workers who are dedicated to looking after children and families."

The crux of the dispute is that the charity originally intended to impose a 1% pay award for 2015/16, with no cost of living rise for half of the 5,000- strong workforce. It also removed contractual pay increments for new starters and cut mileage rates.

Unions said that in the last four years Action for Children has made an average profit of £5.4m each year.

A spokeswoman for Action for Children, which employs over 600 staff in Scotland, said the charity was committed to reaching an agreement with the unions.

"The role that trade unions represent in the workplace is highly regarded by Action for Children," she said.

"We are happy that negotiations will continue in order to avoid the disruption that industrial action would bring to our services."