Cut to county council carers' hours goes ahead
3:30pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in County News
A PLANNED cut to the hours of council care workers has been confirmed – with a union saying that some workers will be losing a third of their income.
In July, negotiations began to avoid the change to contractual hours of 65 home carers represented by Unison and working across the county.
Unison said that there will be a cut of 400 hours from the In-House Homecare service, provided to some of the most vulnerable residents in the county.
Homecare Staff have now received letters confirming how many hours they will be losing.
In many cases individuals will lose up to a third of their income, said a union spokesman.
Staff feared that contracts would be reduced from 37 hours a week to 25, 25 down to 16 and 16 down to 12.
“The majority of these members are low paid women some who are solely dependent on their wage and many members are unsure how they will make ends meet.
“Notwithstanding the cuts in our members’ hours, this is a real blow to some of the most vulnerable residents of Pembrokeshire who could have benefited from a more comprehensive package of care,” said Unison branch secretary Vic Dennis.
Unison will be campaigning against the cuts and will be leafleting the public and lobbying councillors to throw out the proposed cuts in their next full meeting on the October 17.
Mr Dennis added: “There is a wealth of expertise within the team that can be utilised to the good of the community yet the officers of PCC have once again failed to negotiate meaningfully with Unison, choosing instead to impose cuts which affect our members and the wider community of Pembrokeshire.”
Unison area organiser Hugh McDyer said “The in-house team have a miniscule share of homecare / reablement hours whilst some 14,000 hours are delivered by the private sector with around 17 different providers. It is a scandal when we see cost put before quality and it cannot be good for continuity of care with 17 private providers providing homecare services. It is even more shocking when we see the private sector contracts extended for an additional year with no consideration being given to avoid the cuts that our members and the public are now faced with.”
A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman said: “The reduction of around 400 hours per week within the council’s in-house reablement service will enable contracts to be aligned more closely with service demands.
“This is required as care teams are working under capacity and it will allow staff to be more flexible to the needs of customers. The hours of reduction are hours that are not currently being delivered. It therefore follows that there will be no change in the level of service.
“The reduction of hours will be introduced in a phased approach from January 1.
“Meetings have been held over the past few months with staff and unions in the process leading up to the decision.”
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