UNISON is calling on care company Tricuro to make a joint approach with GMB and Unite unions asking the three shareholder councils for more resources, in a fresh bid to end the dispute.
With new government rules allowing a 3% rise in the social care precept and the councils now also each getting a share of the £240m adult social care fund, UNISON has written to Tricuro management inviting them to lobby council leaders in Dorset, Poole, and Bournemouth.
Unions want the councils to use a small portion of the additional funds to fulfil their 2015 pledge to staff that pay and conditions would not be hit following their transfer from the councils to Tricuro.
UNISON officer Pete Challis said:
“Friends and relatives of people being looked after by Tricuro are worried and staff are distressed. This offers a new opportunity for Tricuro to add its voice to all those who say the council should honour their promise and use some of the new money that will be available. It’s in everybody’s interest – staff, management and users, to get this dispute settled.
“Out of £7m raised from the three councils’ social care precepts this year, not a penny went to Tricuro, even though it was created by the local authorities to look after 7000 people in Dorset.
“If just 6% – £600k – of the £10.5m the councils can expect to raise from next year’s 3% care levy was given to Tricuro, this dispute would be over. The money is a fraction of the overall budget but would avoid unmanageable losses of pay for already hard-up workers.
“Without this injection of cash, the care of vulnerable people in Dorset is likely to suffer, as experienced staff leave. Over 200 are expected to do so since the company first signalled it wanted to cut the pay of its lowest paid members of staff.
“If nurses leave, the company will have to rely on agency staff to meet its legal requirements. Using agency staff is expensive and means people never know from one day to the next who will be caring for them. That is not a quality service”
- On Thursday (15.12.16) the government announced councils would be able to raise a social care precept of 3% for the next two years, rather than 2% as before. In addition, a pot of £240m for adult social care will be distributed to councils, which has been created by taking money out of the existing New Homes Bonus fund.
- In July 2015 Tricuro was established as a local authority trading company, owned by Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth councils.
- Managers were due to issue dismissal notices to staff on 31 October, but UNISON complained and the company stepped back.
- Under the proposed changes an assistant cook working on Saturdays stands to lose up to £666 a year, and a care assistantworking Sundays up to £836. Night staff who do a double shift at the weekend could be down as much as £2600 a year.
- Staff were given eight days to agree the changes and were told that if they didn’t voluntarily do so, it would “be necessary to move to a formal process of dismissal”, and that letters would go out at the end of October.