Hardworking support staff who care for adults with learning disabilities in Somerset have been told by the County Council that their pay, terms and conditions will be cut as the service is handed over to an outside company. 

For over 25 years Somerset County Council has been delivering a high level of personalised social care and support through the Learning Disabilities Service. This April, Somerset County Council propose to transfer the service of over 1200 staff to a social enterprise run by national care company Dimensions.

Somerset County Council promoted the transfer as a way to ensure continued high levels of care for vulnerable adults, and promised to focus on maintaining current links between carers and service users.

Staff were ready to make the transfer work, but Somerset County Council have gone back on their commitment to high quality care.

The reality is an attack on support workers’ terms and conditions which is only going to see staff leaving the organisation, at a time when continuity of care is desperately needed. The focus must be on care, not cost.

Sean Cox, a UNISON steward working in Somerset’s learning disability services explains:

“Maintaining one set of high quality terms and conditions is the only way to ensure continuity of care for service users, make sure that we can keep attracting the best care workers, and for us to deliver a good service. All of this was promised to staff and service users, but now the council are going back on their word.”

What you can do:

  • UNISON are calling service users, their carers and families as well as staff to sign a petition calling for staff and service users to get a fair deal out of the transfer by keeping everyone on equal terms.
  • On 15 February members of LD services will be attending the Somerset County Council Meeting at County Hall, Taunton to present the petition to the Council. UNISON are encouraging members of the public to attend the meeting to demonstrate support for keeping the focus of Learning Disabilities Services in Somerset on care, not cost.

If you would like to sign the petition, are interested in attending the council meeting or would like more information about the transfer in LD services please contact UNISON Local Organiser Daniel Waghorn via d.waghorn@unison.co.uk or 07903 846415.

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