Burnley care workers protest at proposed pay cuts

AFG care workers protest outside the company's headquarters in Liverpool against plans to cut pay by up to 45% (s)
AFG care workers protest outside the company's headquarters in Liverpool against plans to cut pay by up to 45% (s)

CARE workers in Burnley angry at proposed cuts to pay and conditions took their fight to Liverpool.

Around 50 employees of Alternative Futures Group, which provides care for adults with learning disabilities in their own homes on behalf of Lancashire County Council and 23 other local authorities in the North West, held a demonstration outside the company’s headquarters.

They also aired their views at the annual meeting of their union UNISON.

Staff said they have been told that if they do not sign up to a new contract in June they will be given three months’ notice of AFG’s intention to ‘terminate’ their employment

Last week 35 workers held a meeting at the KSC 110 Club in Burnley where they voted in favour of strike action against plans to cut pay for some, former NHS, employees by up to 45%.

They were joined at the AFG offices by colleagues from across Lancashire and Merseyside.

A meeting between workers and union bosses was due to take place at Rosegrove Unity.

One worker, a single mum from Burnley, said she would not be able to afford to live on the amount AFG was proposing and added most employees now wanted to fight to receive redundancy cash so they could leave the company.

“We need to keep fighting against these cuts,” she said. “The feeling now is that we are not prepared to accept the proposals by AFG, and people just want redundancy. They want to get out.

“A lot of them wouldn’t be able to manage on the new wage. I’m a single parent and I’m used to living on what I’ve got. If my wage is cut I’ll just be existing.”

AFG has been told by health commissioners it must provide the same level of service and staff numbers, but cut spending by £5.1m.

As well as cutting pay, bosses are also looking at slashing sick pay and holidays in a bid to save cash.

On the day of the demonstration protesters said employees at AFG’s headquarters had been given the day off or asked to work from home and they were met by police and security guards.

Another worker added: “Long standing staff, some of whom have 20 to 30 years experience of supporting vulnerable adults with learning disabilities are being forced on to poverty pay with no option of redundancy.

“Ordinary people cannot just downgrade their lives, their mortgages and bills without some kind of comparable form of compensation.”