Care UK urges Unison to accept 2% pay rise

Director of Care UK's learning disability service, Chris Hindle.
Director of Care UK's learning disability service, Chris Hindle.

Care UK held a scheduled meeting with Unison earlier today to ask the union to seriously consider pay proposals which confirm a 2 per cent increase for new employees and commit to matching upcoming NHS pay awards for employees previously employed by the NHS or, alternatively, accept an offer of binding arbitration to bring the second dispute within the service this year to an end.

Care UK’s director of learning disability Chris Hindle said: “We have brought these pay proposals to the union in line with the normal calendar for annual pay rises for newly recruited colleagues. At the same time, we’ve given a clear indication of the approach we would like to take with regard to colleagues who transferred from the previous provider of this service when their annual pay review date of April 2015 is reached.

“Our proposals give all new colleagues an above inflation pay rise from 1 October 2014, and commit to matching NHS pay rises for those previously employed within the NHS. Former NHS employees have already had confirmation that their NHS pay increments and pension entitlements will remain unchanged.

“Further concrete talks need to take place now. The union needs to move away from political rhetoric and start to seriously consider the proposals we’ve made to improve pay while ensuring the service lives within its means. This is a social care service commissioned by a council facing major reductions in funding. It isn’t the place for protests or political campaigning regarding the NHS by a small minority of union members.”

Spokesman for the workers’ union Unison Jim Bell said: “Let’s be perfectly clear. They are offering two per cent to new starters, not to the people who transferred from the NHS, those who are on strike have been offered nothing.

“The two per cent offered to the new starters equates to 14p an hour, which is then taxed. We will take the offer to our members meeting next week where the shop stewards committee will make a recommendation whether to accept it or reject it but management were told today that at a meeting yesterday members voted for another three weeks strike action to start as soon as possible after the current three week strike action (September 15) which gives an indication of what we think to their offer.”

Care UK has proposed:

· A 2% pay rise from 1st October for more than 100 newly recruited colleagues within the service

· Assuming resolution of the current dispute is reached, a commitment to match next year’s NHS basic pay award percentage in full for around 200 colleagues who transferred from the previous provider

· A binding arbitration process through ACAS if Unison is not prepared to accept the current offer.

Chris Hindle added, “An ongoing cycle of disputes, even among a small percentage of union members, is both unnecessary and irresponsible. More than 90% of Unison members have already agreed to new terms which, as well as protecting pay increments, basic salary levels and NHS pensions, gave compensation to those affected by reductions in unaffordable enhanced hourly rates.

“We have today proposed two clear paths to bring the current dispute to an end – a serious offer, matching or exceeding NHS pay increases, or binding arbitration at ACAS. Unison now needs to tell us which path it wishes to take. ”