Care workers protest over council-owned company’s plan to cut wages

Unison claims employees of Tricuro, which delivers adult services for three south west councils, could lose as much as £2,600 a year under the changes

Bournemouth council is one of the three local authorities that owns Tricuro. Photo: I.T.N./REX/Shutterstock

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”.

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5 Responses to Care workers protest over council-owned company’s plan to cut wages

  1. Colin Quiller November 17, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    I thought theTUPE regulations would protect employees terms & conditions for 3 years??

  2. StevieW321 November 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    TUPE for 3 years?
    This was predicted prior to going to Tricuro several years ago. As always poor management is to blame, and the low paid suffer…..

  3. Ruth Cartwright November 17, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    It is appalling that the councils concerned have washed their hands of those who used to be their directly employed and loyal staff. They made promises to persuade staff to accept this change and then have declined to comment and say it is solely a matter for the new organisation. Councils should not be allowed to privatise services or let them go to local authority trading companies (which when trouble hits are not longer anything to do with the local authority) without cast-iron guarantees for the staff who keep the whole thing going. Once someone is making a profit or being paid to run a service, it will actually cost more unless (as here and as we have seen many times before) pay and conditions for staff are cut and the service is reduced.

  4. bernie November 19, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    Spot on Ruth Cartwright. Well said.

  5. pat December 3, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

    Forget contracts their not worth paper their written on…….companies can do whatever they like….force you into signing new contract or leave job….