Care workers win pay battle

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A group of Bradford care workers who had been set to strike over their wages being halved have seen the proposals dropped by their employer.

According to UNISON, more than 120 staff at private care company United Response, which has a regional office at Hope Park Business Centre, Bradford, had pledged their support for industrial action to prevent their £14 hourly rate dropping to £7.

The company had insisted that negotiations were “ongoing”, and after meeting with union representatives last Friday, any pay cuts or changes to members’ terms and conditions were officially withdrawn.

Rob Demaine, UNISON regional organiser, had labelled the cuts as “appalling” when they were announced last month, accusing United Response of having “no concerns for basic justice and fairness.”

Reacting to the decision yesterday, he said: “We are very pleased the employer has seen sense and withdrawn these devastating cuts to our members’ livelihoods. There was clearly going to be 100 per cent support for strike action, but this saves a lot of anguish and heartache.”

The staff, who help provide supported living for vulnerable people with learning difficulites across the Bradford district, had transferred to United Response from Bradford Council, after the company won a tender for the care contract until June 2015.

Lyn Sowray, of the Council’s adult services team, said: “Staff who transferred to United Response from Bradford District Care Trust had their pay and conditions protected under Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) regulations.

“We contract United Response to provide care services on our behalf and pay a contract price that covers the cost of the staff who transferred. We had not required United Response to carry out these staff consultations, or to harmonise terms and conditions in order to save money.”

A spokesman for United Response said: “In December, we began a consultation over employment terms and conditions in Bradford in an attempt to plan responsibly for potential budget cuts. This consultation process was an opportunity for all parties to provide comment and views on our original proposal. As part of that process, the local authority has confirmed its funding plans and we are able to withdraw the original proposals.

“We are very pleased with this outcome, as we were always aware of the concerns and difficulties the proposed changes would cause to staff.”

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