Care workers will lose up to £2,600 a year under cost-savings proposed by a local authority-owned trading company, union leaders claim.
Tricuro, which delivers adult social care for Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth councils, has proposed changes to terms and conditions for frontline staff as part of a plan to address a £1.3m “cost pressure” the company said it was facing this year.
Unison said the changes will see care assistants who work on Sundays lose up to £836 a year and night staff who work double weekend shifts up to £2,600. It blamed “poor planning” by the three councils for the emergence of the £1.3m funding gap.
Workers staged a protest against the planned cuts last week and the mediation service ACAS has been called in to facilitate talks between the company and unions.
Gavin Brooks, head of local government for Unison South West, said: “When Tricuro was set up last year, care staff were promised that the transfer from the councils wouldn’t mean any loss in pay. Now, barely 12 months on, it is trying to break this promise.
“Tricuro staff work long hours looking after vulnerable elderly and disabled people across the county. They deserve better than to be intimidated in this way. These low-paid workers rely on the extra cash they get for working unsocial hours to make ends meets.”
‘A matter for management’
Colin Dennis, Tricuro’s independent chair, said the changes were part of a wider strategy to meet the cost pressures that also included a planned reduction in management costs and a reduction in agency spend.
“Tricuro is in the process of discussion with unions facilitated by ACAS to endeavour to reach an agreement about the proposed variations to terms and conditions of employment,” he said.
“It is not the company’s want or wish to dismiss any employee as it is essential that we retain a workforce to deliver the care required across our communities.”
Tricuro was established as a local authority trading company in July 2015 by Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth councils. Around 1200 staff were transferred into the company and councillors said the move would save £8.9m over a five-year period.
The three councils declined to comment on the plans and said the day-to-day management of the company, including staff terms and conditions, was “a matter for Tricuro’s management”.