> Another example of what happens when NHS services are privatised…
Staff in homes for people with learning and physical disabilities in Northumberland could take strike action over what they describe as a “savage cut” to their terms and conditions.
The majority of 36 workers in five homes run by Lifeways are being balloted amid claims their pay is to be slashed by £2.30 an hour to £7.65 – below the National Living Wage.
They also say the company is cutting paid sickness leave to five days per year, reducing its contribution to workers’ pensions from 14% to 4% and removing death in service benefits.
The workers are based at three homes in Bedlington and two in Choppington and are represented by the union Unison.
It claims staff who transferred to Lifeways from the NHS are seeing their maternity provision replaced by the statutory minimum and that holiday entitlement has been reduced by seven days.
Unison spokesman Trevor Johnston said:
“They are faced with losing between a third and half of their income and a savage cut to their other terms and conditions of employment.
“The staff are very concerned about their financial security. They are very committed to caring for the residents and appreciate that disruption is unsettling for them. However, they feel that they are faced with no alternative.
“Unison has offered to undertake meaningful negotiations with the employer, especially as Lifeways made a profit last year of £14m.
“Other not-for-profit organisations faced with similar cuts have offered their staff buy out arrangements while continuing to pay the Living Wage.”
The company has blamed a 30% cut in the money it is given to run the homes by Northumberland County Council.
A Lifeways spokesperson said:
“We recognise the impact that any changes to terms and conditions will have on our staff and we are holding talks with Unison in order to avoid industrial action.
“Our service users remain our number one priority and we will maintain a high level of care at all times.
“However, like all other providers of adult social care, we are having to reduce our costs as a result of local authority budget cuts.
“Despite a 30% reduction in fees, we are required to deliver the same level of service as currently.
“The fee decrease is being absorbed in part through a reduction in our operating costs, mostly through the proposed changes in employment terms and conditions, but also in part by Lifeways directly.”
The services now run by Lifeways were operated by the Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust as residential care homes until 2012.
A Northumberland County Council spokesperson:
“The trust made a decision a number of years ago that they no longer felt it appropriate for them to continue providing this kind of social care service, and consulted their staff in relation to this.
“The county council, which was the funder of the services, therefore advertised in 2012 for a new provider to take over the services and work towards supporting the service users in a less institutional way, changing the services from residential homes to a ‘supported living’ scheme, in which service users would become tenants with enhanced rights and greater independence.
“The contract offered in the original tender is the contract that was agreed would operate from April 1.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 09 Mar 2015
Feel you’ve been fucked over by the DWP ? Now they’re offering you out for money too. Gives a whole new meaning to the term Poverty Pimp…
An advert for a job as a prostitute has appeared on a Government website.
The bungling Department of Work and Pensions allowed the “no experience necessary” offer for a single girl willing to work as a hooker to be posted on Direct Gov.
The ad, offering £10 an hour, put up by an agency called Horny Escorts on a board popular with jobseekers, offers work on a “flexitime” basis with the only qualification needed listed as “must like sex”.
The description said: “Female worker wanted to go out with guys maybe for evening or have full on sex.”
In grammatically incorrect English it continues: “This would be better if you was single and be able to work at your own pace.
“Looks and race unimportant. You will need a mobile phone. No experience necessary.”
The advert was posted on the Universal Jobmatch area of the Direct Gov site last Monday by the boss of the agency.
It only has one man and woman working for it but boasts of having “the most gorgeous and sophisticated women and men in the UK.”
The manager said: “I put the advert up there because it’s a job site and it’s a job. I was a bit shocked they allowed it.
“I also do deliveries and I had posted an ad for a same-day delivery service and then I just put the escorting one underneath it.
“The advert says ‘must like sex’ because if a man pays for it obviously he’s going to want that. I thought the Department of Works and Pensions would admin it.
“I didn’t know it would go straight online.”
He said he decided to advertise after business slowed down, saying: “It’s not been that good.”
A DWP spokesman admitted the blunder but refused to say if ads were read before they went live.
He said: “The post was inappropriate and was taken down next day.
“When advertising jobs, employers have to agree to terms and conditions. Where an inappropriate job is identified it is quickly removed.”
Source – Daily mirror, 29 Dec 2013