NorseCare Consultation – Bulletin 1- June 2018
UNISON opposes the proposed cuts to your pay and conditions of employment that have been announced by Norsecare. We understand that Norfolk County Council (NCC) is cutting the Norsecare budget. UNISON has already protested about this to the Leader of the Council and the Director of Adult Social Care.
NCC funds the placements of a majority of the residents in Norsecare homes and has a responsibility for these people. They are pleased when told that 94%of all Norsecare homes are rated “good” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) compared to 74% for the private sector. Yet they are prepared to risk these standards by forcing Norsecare to make high levels of cuts. This is a disgrace as in effect NCC are saying Norfolk elderly residents are not worth paying extra money for, to ensure they receive “good” care.
Having said that, UNISON is not satisfied with this approach to making savings. We believe it is wrong to target those who deliver frontline care. Frontline care workers cannot work from home when they are sick; they undertake more paid overtime than senior staff and already have less holiday entitlement than senior staff. Also frontline staff do not receive annual performance bonuses on top of their basic salary. Therefore to talk about “a standard set of terms for staff and a fair approach for all” is UNISON believe not strictly accurate.
After the consultation period has been completed UNISON will be undertaking negotiations with Norsecare.
We have made clear already that we expect to understand the financial pressures caused by NCC’s unreasonable cuts and the anticipated savings Norsecare expect from each of the proposed cuts.
We will look at other areas where savings may be possible and we will of course keep arguing for NCC to reverse the £3m cut to the Norsecare budget. Like in any negotiations on your pay and conditions we will consult with UNISON members and as and when it is appropriate ballot you on proposals. Ultimately you will decide what position UNISON takes and whether to accept any changes to your pay and conditions of service.
If UNISON members do not vote to accept any new proposal that comes out of the negotiations then no deal will be made. Norsecare will then have to decide whether they impose change upon you.
If they go down that route UNISON will inevitably register a dispute and will consult our members on what action they are prepared to take to protect pay and conditions.
During the consultation and subsequent negotiations UNISON will be arranging visits to individual workplaces; you will be kept informed of this. This will be an opportunity for you to ask questions and brief us with your views.
If you have any questions you should put these to Norsecare or of course feel free to ask us by emailing email@example.com
What You Can Do to Help
There are still people working in Norsecare who are not members of a union. We need to do all we can to encourage them to join UNISON. When UNISON negotiates your pay and conditions of service we have more credibility and influence with Norsecare the more workers who are UNISON members. It is not unusual for employers to highlight the number of non-union members as a reason to undermine UNISON’s arguments on behalf of our members.
If an agreement is not reached that is acceptable to UNISON members and IF Norsecare tries to impose a change of contract on you, we will be in a dispute situation. This MAY lead to UNISON members voting to take some form of action. Obviously any action is more effective if more people take part in it. We therefore need more UNISON members to improve our chances in getting a deal you find acceptable and more UNISON members in the event that action has to be taken.
PLEASE ENSURE UNISON MEMBERSHIP FORMS ARE ON DISPLAY AND POLITELY ENCOURAGE ANY NON UNION MEMBERS TO JOIN UNISON. IF PEOPLE STILL REFUSE TO JOIN PLEASE RESPECT THEIR DECISION.
UNISON have emailed a draft letter for you and your colleagues to sign and return to Norsecare. Please ensure this letter is being circulated in your workplace and again politely encourage people to sign it but respect their right to refuse to do so. Copies available on request.
Finally it would be helpful to have more stewards in Norsecare so we can communicate more effectively. Your steward can pass views on to the UNISON negotiators whilst UNISON can report quickly back to you via your steward. If you are interested in this role please contact the Norse Convenor Chris Pond firstname.lastname@example.org