Bucks Trade Union hit out at Fremantle Trust for "cutting pay" for social care workers

The Bucks Trade Union Unison have hit out at the Fremantle Trust, a carehome provider in Aylesbury Vale for removing staff allowances and cutting their pay.
The Bucks Trade Union Unison at an event in Market Square earlier this yearThe Bucks Trade Union Unison at an event in Market Square earlier this year
The Bucks Trade Union Unison at an event in Market Square earlier this year

Some members of Unison say the removal of allowances has cut their yearly paycheck by up to £3,000.

Steve Bell, the secretary of the Bucks Trade Union Unison has hit out at Fremantle Trust for cutting staff pay.

Under previous funding structures workers at the Care Trust would get paid an additional £2.50 for every hour they worked on weekends.

However, Steve believes this will only serve to drive people out of the care industry as many people to work 'unsociable hours' to top up their pay, in order to take on the high living costs of working and living in Buckinghamshire.

Steve said staff at the Trust are 'aggrieved' at the losses, as many used the extra hours to top up their pay packets.

The Fremantle Trust have raised wages up to the 'living wage' at £9 per hour, but have now scrapped the additional pay for working unsociable hours.

He said: "Because Buckinghamshire is a low pay economy, but expensive to live here many workers in the care and health industry have to taken on a second job just to make up a decent living wage.

"While £9 an hour looks good on paper, in Buckinghamshire it's not enough to live on.

"Members at this point are now going through the grievance procedure, we feel that we are in dispute.

"100s of angry members attended our meetings about Fremantle and we hope we can come to a decent resolution for all workers involved.

He also added that some members who has been in touch were set to lose up to £3,000 a year from their pay-packets.

He questioned the move, saying that this would just leave huge holes in the workforce during the weekends and nighttime as workers no longer have an incentive to work during these hours.

Steve said that the Fremantle Trust should instead of taking pay from their dedicated workforce, they should be campaigning for more money for their staff because their wages aren't enough for people to live on in this area.

He has said the Bucks Trade Union is willing to work with Fremantle to come to an amicable resolution, but it's been 'a difficult process' to say the least.

He said it has now become a 'serious' situation, which if left unresolved will only add to the shortage of staff and lack of morale within the care industry.

"We want to meet with the Fremantle Trust to urgently discuss the situation to try and resolve the issue."

"We're arguing that Fremantle should protect people who work extra hours

"We understand Fremantle's position - They are having their rates cut. Many Unison members questioned whether senior management having their pay cut too?

"They don't appear to understand why many of our members work extra hours is because they can't afford to live in the area."

Steve said the 'living wage' across the home counties should be much closer to the London rate of £10 an hour.

"The Fremantle trust have claimed they have actually given increase in pay, between 1-5% on basic salaries.

"But lots of people rely on the extra hours allowances to earn enough money to live, and just about survive in the area."

The Fremantle Trust have hit back at these claims, saying it is currently a very difficult financial climate for social care, but they were proud of their work and pay structures.

Sara Livadeas, Chief Executive of The Fremantle Trust, said:

"We are very proud that we have raised the hourly rate of our care workers to £9 per hour, despite a very difficult financial climate for social care.

"This is well above the legal minimum wage of £8.21 per hour and represents an increase in pay overall for all our care and supported living workers, even though weekend enhancements have stopped.

"We protected the pay of people contracted to work only at weekends at £11.50 per hour.

"I'm pleased to report that since the raise in pay we have seen a big increase in applications from people wanting to work at The Fremantle Trust.

"As a result, our use of agency workers is 10% less than at the same time last year, which means residents receive better and more consistent care.

"Employees who volunteer to work additional overtime at weekends will be paid £9 per hour."