De­ci­sion de­layed

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE - Ross Thom­son

A de­ci­sion on the fu­ture of North La­nark­shire’s home sup­port work­ers has been post­poned.

The North La­nark­shire In­te­grated Joint Board ( IJB), was ex­pected to vote on rec­om­men­da­tions to out­source large parts of the ser­vice to the pri­vate sec­tor.

The IJB con­sis­tently ar­gued that the re- grad­ing of North La­nark­shire’s home sup­port work­ers in 2015, fol­low­ing their suc­cess­ful equal pay claim, makes the ser­vice unaf­ford­able.

How­ever, at last week’s IJB meet­ing in front of a packed pub­lic gallery of work­ers, the item was axed from the meet­ing’s agenda.

Pub­lic sec­tor trade union UNI­SON claim the out­sourc­ing of the ser­vice would be “privi­ti­sa­tion by the back door” and would threaten the fu­ture of the ser­vice.

Jo­hanna Bax­ter, UNI­SON’s re­gional or­gan­iser, said: “The price of equal pay at work can­not be the pri­vati­sa­tion of your job.

“The de­ci­sion has the po­ten­tial to re­sult in large scale re­dun­dan­cies, which the coun­cil will have dif­fi­culty man­ag­ing through vol­un­tary sev­er­ance or re­de­ploy­ment, and a poorer ser­vice for those in need of home sup­port in North La­nark­shire.

“The num­ber of work­ers who turned up at the meet­ing, many of whom have just came off night­shift, shows the strength of feel­ing among mem­bers.”

In April 2016, Coun­cil­lor Barry McCul­loch, the coun­cil’s so­cial work con­vener, an­nounced that home care jobs would stay in- house.

But a brief­ing paper emerged two months later stat­ing the cur­rent ar­range­ments for home care were “not sus­tain­able” be­cause of fi­nan­cial pres­sure and grow­ing de­mand.

The re­port also stated it pro­posed to re­design the work­force and in­tro­duce greater choice and flex­i­bil­ity to ser­vice users.

John Wat­son, UNI­SON North La­nark­shire branch of­fi­cer, added: “In Jan­uary 2017, both Labour and the SNP lo­cally signed up to UNI­SON’s Eth­i­cal Char­ter, com­mit­ting to en­sure there would be no pri­vati­sa­tion of home care ser­vices in North La­nark­shire.

“The IJB is now propos­ing to spend £23 mil­lion of pub­lic money in the com­ing years to pri­vate providers.

“This is pub­lic money and should stay in our com­mu­ni­ties to en­sure we pro­vide the ap­pro­pri­ate care pack­ages for the vul­ner­a­ble and frail peo­ple in our ar­eas.”

A spokesper­son for Health and So­cial Care North La­nark­shire said: “No re­port on home sup­port was con­sid­ered by the In­te­grated Joint Board this week.

“Work is on­go­ing and a re­port will be con­sid­ered by the board in due course.

“It is sim­ply un­true, how­ever, to say that ‘large-scale re­dun­dan­cies’ are planned. In fact, there has been no sug­ges­tion of re­dun­dan­cies in any of the work car­ried out to ex­plore op­tions for the fu­ture model of home sup­port. In terms of the bal­ance of pro­vi­sion, there has al­ways been a mixed econ­omy de­ployed be­tween in-house coun­cil re­sources and those pro­vided by the in­de­pen­dent sec­tor.”

Cam­paign UNI­SON home sup­port work­ers demon­strate out­side North La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s head­quar­ters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.