CARERS on the coronavirus frontline supporting those in need face losing up to £7,000 in pay under a new pay and conditions package proposed by a community services provider.

A dispute has arisen over plans to harmonise the terms of workers across the Bradford district with St Anne’s Community Services.

Some staff expect to lose in the region of £5-7,000 in pay as well as cuts in hours, overtime and unsocial hours. They might also lose holiday days.

One has reportedly said they would have to sell their house because they would not be able to afford the repayments.

The carers feel particularly aggrieved as they have been on the frontline during the four months of the coronavirus pandemic.

St Anne’s announced the plans to equalise the pay and conditions of staff in Yorkshire and the North East earlier in the year with those they took on from the NHS under TUPE regulations losing money while hundreds of other staff could get a rise to above the National Minimum Wage.

The charity says it has had no choice due to falling payments for care and has asked staff to sign the new contracts by July 10.

It has entered a consultation period with the 139 workers who are affected by the changes.

The Unison union are currently asking members who work for St Anne’s whether they are happy to accept the changes to their terms.

Union rep Dean Harper said: “TUPE staff will lose in the region of £5-7,000 and lose eight days' leave.

"They've sent out the letters for the revised contracts giving 12 weeks' notice. If people don't sign they will be fired and rehired.

"They've offered 75% of the difference from the old contract to the new contract with TUPE but that still leaves a shortfall."

He said staff are also being asked to contribute more to their pension fund and although some are having their hourly pay increased from £8.72 to £9.45, a cut in hours will negate some of that.

"They have had 10 hard years at St Anne's with cuts to conditions and no pay rises. There has been a constant erosion of terms and conditions," added Mr Harper.

He said the consultation on the changes was paused during the height of the pandemic but was restarted in May.

"It is shameful when all these staff are putting their lives on the line.

"A lot are on low salaries, living from day to day, so they bank on overtime and bonuses."

He said many staff had worked for St Anne's for a long time but added that the company had a high turnover of staff with up to a quarter leaving every year.

"It used to be a good place to work. They cared about their staff."

A statement from the charity said: “St Anne’s Community Services has been a charity for 49 years supporting clients across many commissioning authorities within the North of England. St Anne’s and many other social care providers have faced years of austerity whilst maintaining a quality client delivery.

“St Anne’s has continued to pay for historic/TUPE enhancements to some colleagues whilst most of our competitor organisations have removed them. Financially this could not continue, as commissioners have retendered and renegotiated the social care funding to a level which no longer supports the continued payment of historical/TUPE terms and conditions.

“As a result of this, St Anne’s entered a consultation period on the 12th February 2020 to remove the historic terms and conditions held by a minority of our staff across the whole organisation. Of the 1,300 we employ, the changes to annual pay affected some 139 staff. We consulted extensively with our recognised unions Unison and the RCN and held many staff drop-ins and briefings over this time. Throughout the consultation process St Anne’s listened carefully to the views of staff and trade unions and revised and improved the proposals on a number of occasions.

“Under the new terms and conditions there is an increase to St Anne’s pay for the majority of our staff, to a level above the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage for outside London.

“Approximately 1,150 will receive an increased wage. As we are fully aware, any financial detriment to the staff who will lose from the changes to terms and conditions may affect them greatly. We are therefore offering those staff transitional payments equivalent to 75% of one year’s reduction in pay.

“The review has been carefully considered to ensure that we can take the organisation forward with payments to staff in a more equitable and financially sustainable way. The final terms and conditions have been sent to all staff, and we have asked individuals to provide their acceptance by 10th July.

“Our changes to terms and conditions will give our support workers a wage rate of £9.45/hr and a total of 28 days leave rising to 33 with service. This will enable us to recruit more staff and reward existing staff in a more appropriate way.

“St Anne’s has an excellent reputation for care and delivery to our clients and this has been achieved with the dedication and support of superb colleagues.”