Social care workers on Merseyside may have their pay slashed by up to a quarter due to funding cuts.
Union officials have condemned the proposals as a “vicious and draconian attack” on low paid workers at Sefton New Directions (SND), the majority of whom are female.
The Sefton Council-owned company drafted plans to slash pay and make at least 50 people redundant after the authority cut its budget by £3m.
SND employs about 500 care workers to provide a range of adult care services on behalf of the council, including reablement and domiciliary care.
The average pay cut would be of 12%, going up to 26% for a small number of staff.
Glen Williams, secretary of the Sefton branch of Unison, which has rejected the proposals, said: “This is probably the most vicious and draconian attack on any workers in the UK. “It is an insult to the staff and local people.”
If the plans go ahead, £2m would be saved by changing employees’ terms and conditions and £1m by reducing the size of the workforce.
Overtime rates would be reduced.
Ken Fish, a business consultant for Fresh Care, the company brought in to advise SND on where to make savings, said the cuts were unavoidable.
“We’re making cuts because we have no choice,” he said.
SND hopes to avoid compulsory job losses by offering early retirement and voluntary redundancy packages. Up to 12 new posts could be created as part of the restructure.
Williams accused Fresh Care of failing to properly consult unions and staff, but Fish said the proposals would bring SND in line with the rest of the private sector.
“One of the problems we have is that New Directions employees are all ex-council workers,” he said.
“When the company was formed four years ago, they came across and kept their terms and salaries.
“Those were significantly above rates in the local private care sector.”
Unison has written to Sefton Council leaders asking them to delay the budget reduction, and presented them with a petition signed by thousands of local residents.
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