Threat of industrial action at Cafcass

Family court unions look set to ballot for industrial action at the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service after rejecting its 2.5 per cent pay offer.

Napo and Unison this week confirmed members had rejected the offer by “clear majorities”, and Cafcass immediately said it would restart talks.

Napo assistant general secretary Jonathan Ledger said there would be a “significant risk” of industrial action ballots if Cafcass did not deliver more money, but was not “overly optimistic” that it would.

Cafcass has emphasised it has no more money for salaries, given a financial crisis that has forced it to take emergency measures to stave off a possible 4m overspend.

Ledger said he acknowledged the “financial strictures” Cafcass was operating under and said “the challenge is for government to make money available”.

However, staff may be in no mood to sympathise with the service should the Department for Education and Skills fail to provide more money.

This is because of a delay of almost six months between the unions making their offer and the opening of negotiations, and the fact practitioners are being asked to make radical changes in working practices on the back of last month’s professional strategy.

In their offer, the unions called for pay parity between English staff and their Welsh counterparts, many of whom have been on significantly better salaries since they transferred to the Welsh assembly government in April.

Napo’s turnout for the ballot was 45 per cent.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.