Stop the pay and job cut for two hundred Sirona staff

Over two hundred workers in the Residential and Extra Care departments of council-funded care company Sirona are facing a wage cut, which for many will amount to over an hour’s pay per week.

UPDATE: Sirona have agreed to re-think aspects of their proposals and are currently working with staff to come up with a better set of options to save the money B&NES council has cut. Further updates will follow when possible. Read more

Sirona bosses had told staff that their “paid breaks” were to be made unpaid, until public service union UNISON pointed out that no such paid breaks existed. Now the care company wants to cut pay by the equivalent of 20 minutes for every six hours worked.

The straight-up pay cut now on the cards means that Sirona will have to fire and then rehire staff on new contracts if they do not accept the loss of earnings, in a process known as “dismissal and re-engagement”.

Job cuts are on the agenda too, with Sirona’s consultation paper proposing to start by reducing the number of managers from 8.8 full time roles to 7, working across the eight care homes in the affected department.

Though an official consultation process continues until Sunday (20 August 2017), Sirona bosses have made clear they intend to cut pay and jobs. UNISON is preparing a collective grievance in response, signed by over 40 staff so far.

UNISON organiser Lewis Carson said:

“After months of uncertainty following the Virgin Care debacle, Sirona rewards its workers with a pay cut that will cause hardship for many. Many of these workers earn just 30p above the minimum wage and have seen the cost of living run far ahead of their wages in recent years.

“Sirona should work with UNISON to find an alternative to these wage cuts and job losses. Currently over £1 million per year is spent on temporary staff in this department alone, and we believe this can be reduced to make up the gap in funding. The company have rushed into these proposals with flaky evidence and no consideration of the impact on service users or staff.”

A Sirona staff member told UNISON:

“I’m going to lose £50 a month… I’ve only had a 1% pay rise in 5 years. I’m going to have to work more hours to make up the money I lose, spending less time with my young family. Two staff members have just left because of poor pay and fed-up with being short staffed, if they take the managers away from the extra care schemes, who will we have to call upon when we have sickness or absences”

Further info

  • Sirona are spending significant amount of money on Bank and Agency costs (£1,173,619 in 16/17 year) in the affected department (Residential and Extra Care) alone.
  • UNISON has already prevented Sirona taking illegal action by highlighting the lack of any paid breaks in staff contracts. Had Sirona reduced pay by this method the company would have been liable for charges of unlawful deduction of wages
  • Sirona is required to save £215,000 per year due to B&NES council reducing the funding for their contract.

Work for Sirona and want to help protect your wages and conditions? Get in touch with UNISON on south@unison.co.uk today!