Care staff in Somerset consulted on improved pay offer

New pay offer takes care staff to above the real living wage.

UNISON sign outside UNISON centre in London.

Support workers and care staff working for Discovery in Somerset are being consulted following an improved pay offer from their employer.

The new pay offer will see support workers paid at least £10.50 per hour from 1 September, and all staff earning above the real living wage.

Support workers rejected a previous offer in June from Discovery, which is a social enterprise supporting people with autism and learning disabilities.

A total of 75% rejected the offer, with the majority voting for strike action, because workers who had transferred from Somerset County Council in 2017 would have been on less an hour than those on Discovery contracts. The offer also fell short of UNISON’s £10.50 per hour pay claim.

The mandate for strike action led to pay negotiations re-opening with the employer. UNISON is now consulting its members and recommending acceptance of the revised offer.

If the new deal is accepted, all staff will receive the same hourly rate for the job they do, says UNISON.

UNISON South West lead for social care Helen Eccles said: “Pay talks with Discovery have resulted in an improved deal. The offer takes all staff beyond the real living wage and will be a huge boost amid the cost-of-living crisis.

“The outcome shows that breakthroughs can be achieved when an employer listens to staff and to their unions.”