UNISON Cymru Wales representatives will meet with Bron Afon housing association today in a bid to resolve the increasingly bitter industrial dispute. Support workers walked out on Thursday (13 July) last week because the employer slashed their wages by more than £3,000. Discussions will be convened at the request of the trade union, ahead of the planned 24-hour stoppage this Friday.
UNISON has criticised Bron Afon for refusing to respond to its formal grievance on behalf of all staff. The intimidating behaviour of one manager towards staff, has inflamed tensions.
Rosie Lewis, UNISON organiser said,
“We’ve asked for this meeting because Bron Afon executives have to know their £3,000 wage cut is causing support workers real pain and anguish. They can’t afford to pay their bills or their rents. They are tense and desperate and it is no surprise that sickness absence levels through stress, have jumped.
“This is no way to run a public service where those helping the vulnerable in our community are put under unjust and intolerable pressures. Our message to Bron Afon today will be: pay support workers for a fair day’s work.”
Notes to editors
- Support workers at the not-for-profit organisation, provide assistance to vulnerable people over the age of 50 in their own homes, helping them access benefits and acting as their advocates with housing and financial problems. They provide practical support too to those with mental health issues, addictions and those who have experienced domestic abuse.
- Annual wages for the overwhelming majority of staff in the Supported Living Team have been slashed from £23,572 to £20,416.
- Bron Afon won the new contract in December 2016. It is the biggest older persons contract in Wales.
- In April the Association issued new contracts to the Supported Living Team which cut salaries by between £1,500 and £3,000 – the overwhelming majority’s salaries were cut by £3,000 and this has been implemented. Staff have been placed on spot salaries and now earn £20,416.
- The new contracts meant: the service hours increased from 9am-5pm to 8am-8pm, (same working hours, much longer day); an increase in clients from 325 to 450.
- UNISON members have said the faster turnaround on what support workers are asked to do with clients in a shorter time means the quality of support provided is impacted.
- The Supported Living Team was a blueprint for the development of a separate team supporting those under 50 years. The Supported Living Team trained them and yet they earn £7,000 a year less.
- There are 12 employees in the Supported Living Team
- Strike action took place on Thursday 13 July. Further strike action will take place on Friday 21 July and Monday 24 July. UNISON has advised staff will also be taking action short of strike action throughout the period
- Bron Afon provides affordable housing (as a social landlord), support services to tenants, maintenance and individual care support (not all tenants require assistance).
- Bron Afon’s actions go against everything it proclaims in its mission statement: Caring about people; listening and learning; involving people in decisions; being trustworthy, open and honest.
Alastair Gittins, UNISON press officer 07816 53 83 97