PAY­DAY NIGHT­MARE FOR GLAS­GOW CARE WORK­ERS

EX­CLU­SIVE Staff turn to food­banks as wages re­peat­edly fall­ing short

Evening Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY CA­TRI­ONA STE­WART

CARE work­ers in Glas­gow claim they are suf­fer­ing from “hellish” pay con­di­tions as they re­peat­edly find their wages are fall­ing short.

Staff at Liv­ing Am­bi­tions, which sup­ports adults with ad­di­tional needs, say one col­league was even left to turn to a food­bank for help.

Se­nior staff are even hand­ing out cash from their own pock­ets to help cover the reg­u­lar short­falls. Liv­ing Am­bi­tions did not re­spond to calls.

WORK­ERS for a care provider claim they are trapped in a pay­day night­mare due to their em­ployer’s “hor­ror show” pay­roll sys­tem.

Staff at res­i­den­tial care provider Liv­ing Am­bi­tions say they are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a raft of dif­fer­ent pay is­sues – all leav­ing them short changed.

One woman was even forced to turn to a food­bank for sup­port as she had been re­peat­edly left short on her wages.

An­other went with­out pay for three months, it was al­leged.

Se­nior staff are forced to give work­ers loans out of their own pocket to help tide them over.

And care work­ers are owed nearly 18 months of back­pay as the com­pany only in­tro­duced the Liv­ing Wage last month – in­stead of last April when it was in­tro­duced.

Staff spoke to the Evening Times on con­di­tion of anonymity as they claim there can be re­tal­i­a­tion from bosses if they speak out.

We called Liv­ing Am­bi­tions’s Glas­gow-based head­quar­ters for com­ment but our calls were not re­turned.

Ear­lier this year work­ers held a demon­stra­tion out­side Glas­gow City Cham­bers to draw at­ten­tion to the prob­lems.

But so far the is­sues, which they say in­clude ad­min­is­tra­tive fail­ures and statu­tory breaches con­cern­ing their pay and pay in­for­ma­tion, have not been re­solved.

Liv­ing Am­bi­tions staff work with vul­ner­a­ble adults who have phys­i­cal or learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties and men­tal health prob­lems.

They carry out per­sonal care tasks, give medicines, take clients on hol­i­day or to so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and also sleep over at sup­ported liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion to pro­vide 24 hour care.

GMB Scot­land is rep­re­sent­ing a group of staff who they sur­veyed to find out the ex­tent of prob­lems.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John Slaven said: “Every month our mem­bers are fac­ing a pay­day night­mare be­cause their em­ployer is bury­ing its head in the sand over this hor­ror show pay­roll sys­tem.

“The sur­vey find­ings have ex­posed a litany of fail­ures in the ad­min­is­tra­tion at Liv­ing Am­bi­tions which are at best in­com­pe­tent and at worst un­law­ful – it’s no way to treat ded­i­cated car­ers who do so much for some of our most vul­ner­a­ble ci­ti­zens.”

Head­lines from the sur­vey re­vealed that:

•96 per cent of mem­bers said their em­ployer had failed to pro­vide them with a payslip.

•60 per cent said they re­ceived loans from their em­ployer to plug wage un­der­pay­ments.

•100 per cent said they had been un­der­paid for their work dur­ing their em­ploy­ment.

It was also found that staff, who have re­peat­edly raised their con­cerns about the pay is­sues with­out re­sponse, are strug­gling to make ends on meet against the cost of liv­ing.

One worker said: “There are prob­lems every sin­gle month.

“We don’t al­ways get our payslips on time de­pend­ing on the day our pay­day falls so you can’t al­ways tell how much you’re out of pocket.

“You get three days to re­solve the is­sue but we now have no di­rect ac­cess to pay­roll... so by the time some­one phones you back you’ve missed the dead­line.

‘‘ Every month our mem­bers are fac­ing a pay­day night­mare be­cause their em­ployer is bury­ing its head in the sand

“We have now lost sev­eral long stand­ing staff mem­bers be­cause they could not go on like this. How can I staff for so long with a com­pany that treats me this way? That’s a question I ask my­self reg­u­larly and it’s not a question I can give an an­swer to.”

An­other staff mem­ber said:

“The job is very re­ward­ing and I en­joy work­ing with my clients. But what the man­age­ment don’t seem to re­alise is that we work with peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems yet their treat­ment of their staff is giv­ing us men­tal health prob­lems. And no-one is look­ing af­ter us.”

Mr Slaven added: “Let’s also be clear this is an­other ex­am­ple of vi­tal lo­cal ser­vices be­ing run off the back of pre­dom­i­nantly low-paid women on pre­car­i­ous con­tracts of em­ploy­ment, yet an­other case in point of the ram­pant sex dis­crim­i­na­tion in Scot­land’s so­cial care sec­tor.

“We are urg­ing Liv­ing

Am­bi­tions to take their em­ploy­ees con­cerns se­ri­ously and to work with us to tackle these ob­vi­ous and deep­rooted prob­lems – but it’s clear we are scratch­ing the sur­face of a ma­jor fail­ure in the treat­ment of care work­ers in this em­ployer.”

Liv­ing Am­bi­tions pro­vides ser­vices linked to Glas­gow Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship.

A spokes­woman for Glas­gow Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship said: “We un­der­took an un­planned ser­vice re­view, fol­low­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tion of staff griev­ances in Fe­bru­ary, where the ser­vice provider was able to as­sure us that all pay­ments were now be­ing made to staff timeously and all com­plied with the Scot­tish Liv­ing Wage.

“We have not been made aware of any fur­ther prob­lems in re­la­tion to this mat­ter.”

There was no re­sponse from Liv­ing Am­bi­tions to calls made by the Evening Times.

Work­ers have hit out over the pay is­sues they are fac­ing

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