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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 February 2013

Care workers fight cuts in pay and conditions

Unison members in South Derbyshire healthcare branch are having an activity in Derby on Saturday afternoon, 16 February, to publicise how the Thera Trust treats its workforce.

Staff at Thera East Midlands (TEM), part of Thera Trust, support people who have learning difficulties and challenging behaviours.

A Thera employee spoke to Gary Freeman:

Thera is proposing to bring in a draconian contract in the East Midlands and in some (possibly all) other Thera companies which will mean wage cuts for TUPEd [transferred] staff and an end to overtime at weekends, at night and on bank holidays. Staff will lose over 300 a month.

The company wants cuts in sick pay, and a workforce at the beck and call of the employer. The employer's proposed contract means that they can send staff to any site in TEM and if it is at the beginning of the shift, the employee will have to get there in their own time and expense.

Similarly, if staff are not at their usual base at the end of a shift, they are expected to get home in their own time and expense.

The employer wants to introduce annualised hours with no pay for extra hours worked and due to staff shortages, we are concerned about not being paid and also that we will never get the hours back.

The employer wants to include a clause in the contract giving them the right to change the contract when they want. They have also threatened further wage cuts for all.

The company's contract will inevitably lead to a loss of its skilled workforce and will affect the quality of care that support workers are able to give.

Our union branch organises TEM workers in Derbyshire; other Unison branches organise members in other parts of the East Midlands.

We recently had a consultative ballot across the whole East Midlands with a 93% vote for strike action.

Unison members from Thera North in Lancashire (where the union is recognised) are attending the protest.

The union is now preparing for an official ballot in the East Midlands and we hope to win union recognition from this dispute.

Protest Saturday 16 February, Osnabruck Square, Derby, 12.30pm-2.15pm

Informal meeting immediately afterwards in the upstairs room at the Dolphin Inn, Queen Street DE1 3DL

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Reviews and readers' comments

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