'Loyal, hardworking' Derbyshire care staff face pay cuts and fewer holidays

Stock picture.
Stock picture.
Have your say

Scores of care and support staff face controversial changes to their terms and conditions because of funding cuts, the Derbyshire Times has learned.

Holmewood-based EMH Care and Support is considering a shake-up which would affect about 100 workers currently working under NHS arrangements.

The planned changes come as Derbyshire County Council (DCC) – which commissions EMH's care and support services – faces swingeing cuts.

If the shake-up goes ahead, EMH care and support workers, for example, would be paid an hourly rate of £8.25 as opposed to an hourly rate of £9.19 or £10.05 while staff nurses would be paid an hourly rate of £14.41 compared with an hourly rate of £14.56.

In addition, annual leave could be cut from 8.2 weeks to 5.6 weeks and and sickness leave would be affected.

Andy Freeman, of UNISON East Midlands, criticised the proposed changes.

He said: "This is no way to treat loyal, hardworking, highly-experienced staff.

"They will leave."

EMH has been providing care and support services to people with learning difficulties since 1990.

It also provides supported housing for people aged 55 and over and a range of other services to vulnerable people.

A leaked document seen by the Derbyshire Times states: "EMH fully recognises that the NHS terms and conditions of employment are more generous than those of EMH.

"However, the DCC change requirements are driven by the need to secure a future contract with DCC."

Joanna Grainger, executive director at EMH, which was formerly known as Enable, said: "We are working in conjunction with DCC, as the commissioning body for our care and support services, to help their efficiency programme.

"Part of this requires us to review terms and conditions of relevant employees. We are working to ensure we get the best outcome for our staff and for service users.

"Protecting staff jobs is a priority for us as well as delivering high-quality services.

"We are currently in the early stages of consultation with staff and their representatives and are committed to supporting employees as much as possible through this process."

A council spokesman added: "We are facing cuts of £12.2million to our adult social care budget and we have to make sure that we are getting value for money and that every penny we spend is providing high-quality services for Derbyshire residents.

"EMH has recognised the need to reduce its staffing costs in order to continue delivering affordable services against a backdrop of decreasing budgets.

"We have been ensured that EMH will hold an open consultation with their staff including contact with clients of our services, their families and carers."