Social enterprise defends plan to slash pay for adult care workers

Community nursing specialist Care Plus said cuts were necessary for the survival of the organisation, but union officials have branded the move a 'savage' attack on employee rights.

Adult social care staff working in a social enterprise in north east Lincolnshire are facing large-scale cuts to their pay and terms and conditions.

Care Plus, a social enterprise of health and social care staff, said it needed to save £800,000 this year. This is on top of a similar amount of savings already made last year as a result of cuts in NHS contracts.

Jane Miller, deputy chief executive and chief operating officer of Care Plus said they now had no option but to examine spending on staff costs, which make up nearly 80% of the organisation’s outgoings.

She said they were currently consulting with their 750 staff on proposals to change staff terms and conditions, including travel expenses, sick pay, long service awards, maternity and paternity leave and annual leave.

Dave Monaghan, regional officer for Unite, said: “This is one of the worst examples of attacking health service staff pay and conditions that I have seen. Care Plus is intent on tearing up the long-established Agenda for Change national agreement for staff. It [the consultation] is savage in its scope.”

However, Miller said the cuts were necessary for “oganisational survival”.

“We want to safeguard the organisation and the services it provides. When Care Plus Group was formed in July 2011, we couldn’t have predicted the extent of these changes, but external factors have made this situation impossible to avoid.”

Care Plus provides community nursing, specialist nursing for conditions as diabetes, drug and alcohol misuse, home care, learning disability and end of life services. It has started a 28-day consultation with staff over the changes.

Monaghan said management was refusing union representatives permission to address staff during consultation sessions.

“This is not what staff were promised at the time of conversion to a social enterprise and staff clearly feel very let down,” he said.

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