Learning Disability staff protest over pay cuts of up to £12000

Care workers at Somerset’s Learning Disability Service will this week step up their action over pay cuts ranging from £1800 to £12000 per-year proposed by Discovery, the organisation now handed control.

A “pay-slip-protest” has been organised by public service union UNISON, illustrating how much staff wages would drop by under Discovery’s plan and the damage this is inflicting on the service.

About 1300 members of staff stand to lose out if Discovery succeeds in forcing through the cuts to pay and conditions, which are facing growing opposition from staff and service users.

UNISON estimates that since April over a 100 workers have quit the service due to cuts ordered by Discovery. This represents a staff turnover rate of almost 40% over the year if the trend continues, calling into question the ability of Discovery to deliver “continuity of care” and the “quality service” which Somerset County Council bosses promised service users would be the result of contracting out the Learning Disability Service.

UNISON organiser in Somerset Tom Kennedy-Hughes said:

“Learning disability staff are holding this pay-slip protest so Somerset residents can see the impact this £1800 to £12,328.08 pay cut will have on their ability to make ends meet. Testimony submitted by staff described Discovery’s running of the Learning Disability Service as a “fiasco”, “wicked”, and “disgraceful”. We are putting their statements front and centre to give people the real picture of what is happening to their local services.

“Qualified, experienced care workers are leaving the service in disgust over the behaviour of Discovery bosses. Despite promising to deliver the same high quality that was the hallmark of the County council-run Learning Disability Service, the reality is Discovery are leaving Somerset with a bargain-basement option that hurts vulnerable people and carers.

“Our care workers aren’t in this for the money, but after being ignored by County Council bosses and high-handed disruption from Discovery, getting served up a £1800 pay cut to their already low wages is the final straw. Staff are dedicated to providing a good service and if Discovery won’t stop and listen, it’s clear these workers are willing to go all the way to defend their profession.”

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