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This 2017/18 Cost of Living (COL) pay claim is submitted by UNISON on behalf of all staff working for Barnardo’s.

UNISON’s claim is set at a level that recognises the following:


  • Increases in the cost of living over recent years have significantly reduced the value of staff wages;
  • Appropriate reward is needed to sustain the morale and productivity of staff in their crucial role of delivering high quality services;
  • Appropriate reward is needed for the increased workload and stress placed on staff against a background of major budget cuts and continuing efficiency savings;


Average pay settlements across the economy in general - and in the voluntary sector in particular - have been running ahead of those received by Barnardo’s staff over recent years, increasing the likelihood of recruitment and retention problems in the long term.


We are seeking:

  • A 3% increase on all salary points and allowances
  • The 2017/18 Single Annual Pay Award to be applied as an across the board uplift for all eligible staff 
  • Agreement on joint working on 2017 Gender Pay Reporting




The table overleaf demonstrates the major fall in living standards suffered by staff over recent years.





Barnardos  pay increases

Rise in cost of living[1]

(as measured by Retail Prices Index)











0.65% to scale points 11 +



0.50% or £150 to SCP 11+






This means that, while the cost of living has risen by close to 19.5% over the last five years, pay within Barnardo’s has risen by just 3.2% which means that thousands of pounds have been cut out of the value of staff wages.

Studies have also shown that the low-paid have tended to suffer even higher rates of inflation than the average employee. A 2014 report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that, between 2008 and 2013, the lowest income fifth of households had faced average annual inflation that was 1% higher than the highest income fifth.[2]

Inflation figures for 2016 - thus far - are averaging 1.2%; pay awards for the whole economy averaged 2%.[3] September 2016 CPI inflation figures were up to 1% from 0.6%, a 22 month high. RPI inflation for the same period rose from 1.8% to 2%. Over the course of the next year inflation is expected to rise above the Bank of England’s 2% target. This will have a significant impact on low to middle income earners (the majority of Barnardos staff).

Treasury forecasts indicate that the cost of living is set to rise significantly once more, with the 2017 rate hitting 2.8% in 2017 and then rising to over 3% every year between 2018 and 2020, following the pattern shown in the graph below.


Source: HM Treasury, Forecasts for the UK Economy, August 2016




The ability of Barnardo’s to attract and retain staff in the long term will be damaged if the pay of its staff falls behind the going rate in the labour market.


In order to remain competitive with wages across the economy, Barnardos will need to keep up with average earnings growth predicted to rise across the economy at 2.6% during 2016 and jump to 3.6% by 2017, where it is set to broadly remain until 2020 following the pattern shown below[4].



Source: Office for Budgetary Responsibility, Economic and Fiscal Outlook, March 2016



Working against a background of budget cuts, staff members have been facing greater workload pressures. The resulting increased stress puts the morale of the workforce at risk and poses a long term threat to Barnardo’s ability to provide a consistent quality of service. Over the last year alone members have reported increasing demands on the service resulting in feelings of greater stress and falling morale. 



The affordability of this claim is clear from the latest Barnardo’s accounts, which show a net income increase from the 2014/15 figure of £221.9 to 226.9m; an increase of £5 million compared to £4.4m for  2014/15, and £7.4m for £2013/14. Whilst UNISON acknowledges that this is a challenging time for all voluntary organisations, we note that Barnardos has an excellent record for maintaining and increasing income streams as the organisation delivers valued and cost effective services.  The continued success in a number of key revenue raising areas ranging from the 15% growth in net income from shops (£13m for the year),  to the £2.6m increase in legacy income, is testament to this excellence[5]



It is encouraging to read the Chair of the Board’s sincere thanks to all Barnarndo’s loyal, committed staff who, year-on-year,  are delivering a first class service and progressively better financial results. But fine words butter no parsnips. Annual reductions in the real terms increases of staff salaries are, inevitably, starting to take their toll on family life and staff morale.

 Barnardos employees are Barnardos greatest asset. The organisation’s excellent reputation and successful growth is evidence of the real pride that those employees take in what they and their employer do.

Barnardo’s continues to improve in a number of key performance areas with significant progress being achieved in the first year of the organisation’s ten year strategic business plan. It thus follows that this pay claim represents a very reasonable estimate of the reward staff deserve for their genuine commitment and professionalism, and the minimum improvement in pay needed to maintain workforce morale for delivering consistently high quality services.

UNISON has consulted with members on the contents of this pay claim and it is anticipated that this approach will be duly recognised and rewarded with an early settlement


[1] Office for National Statistics, Consumer Price Inflation Reference Tables, December 2014

[2] Institute of Fiscal Studies, IFS Green Budget 2014

[3] Labour Research October 2016

[4] Office for Budgetary Responsibility, Economic and Fiscal Outlook, March 2016

[5]Barnardo’s  Annual Report and Accounts 2016

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