Date: Mon 8 Feb 2010
UNISON, Scotland’s care workers’ union, today condemned the news that over 300 low paid Home Carers employed by Choices - Care at Home, are to have their contracts of employment ripped up and replaced with “zero hour” contracts, removing any guarantees of how long, or if, they will work in any given period.
Choices Care Workers received letters from the company on 28 January. In them Assistant Director of Operations, Fiona Ford, tells Home Carers that the cut in conditions is due to company difficulties and not enough work from local authorities. The Home Carers, currently paid just 5p above the National Minimum Wage, were shocked at the news and many have contacted UNISON for advice.
Stephen Smellie, Secretary of UNISON in South Lanarkshire, said, “This is an atrocious way to treat a group of dedicated low paid workers who deliver essential services to elderly and disabled people living at home”. UNISON is urging the Home Carers to join the union to fight the company over this and other poor working conditions.
Stephen Smellie said,
“There has been no consultation with anyone over this. Not staff, not UNISON, certainly not service users and not local authorities, were consulted. The company should change their name to “NO Choices Care at Home”.
Note to Editors:
Choices bought over the home care company Domiciliary Care Scotland just before the BBC did an expose of DCS’s practices on Panorama last year Local Authorities contract out home care services to companies like Choices because they are cheaper Such companies like Choices Care at Home, already have recruitment and retention issues. The Panorama programme highlighted how poor wages and poor conditions led to a lack of staff and poorer services to service users.
UNISON’s Public works campaign is part of the union’s UK million voices for change campaign. Details at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks/
UNISON’s Alternative Budget can be found at http://www.unison.org.uk/million/resources/Alternative_Budget.pdf