Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Rochdale Carer's Strike Threat

LAST Saturday, one of the care workers involved in the threatened Rochdale care worker's strike wrote in angry response to a report in the Rochdale Observer apparently designed to spread panic and stir-up feeling against the care workers.  The union Unison claimed some members stood to loose £10,000 a year under the proposed changes being forced through by 'Future Directions', and the firm's Managing Director, Paula Brayson boasted:
'We won the contract to employ people in hard economic times...and have made the union an offer that's not just higher than the living wage but also greater than the market rate for this kind of social care.'
This makes the employer seem positively altruistic in giving the staff jobs at all in 'hard economic times'.  It also raises worries that the so called 'living wage' fought for by the trade unions may become a benchmark to justify decreasing wages by the bosses.

The letter writer who uses the title 'Disgusted' writes;
'Future Directions say that the offer is their best and final offer, in actual fact it was their only offer with no negotiations involved.' 

Disgusted continues: 
'Staff are losing £400 to £500 per month through losing their weekend enhancements and unsocial hours pay.  Staff with long service have had their holiday entitlement cut with no negotiations...   Our job description has not changed, we will still be responsible for giving medication and looking after money.  Unqualified hospital staff would never be allowed to administer medication.'

This is of some concern and raises the question of whether we are expecting to get social care on the cheap.  Last night, 'File on Four' on Radio 4 broadcast a report on 'Operation Jasmine' into the UK's biggest ever care home abuse investigation.  If society is not prepared to pay to get qualified staff these kind of problems could easily increase.

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