Anger at new shift patterns

Care services
Care services

Council care staff are up in arms over planned changes to their shift patterns which they claim will have a detrimental impact on their clients.

Meetings are due to take place this week between East Dunbartonshire Council and trade unions, including Unison, Unite and the GMB regarding the changes being put forward by the council.

The several hundred Homecare staff affected provide personal care to chronically ill and disabled people in their homes.

One Homecare worker told the Herald: “At a meeting earlier this year, we were assured we would continue to have two days off together. Now we are being told EDC Homecare will be implementing a rota and the days off will be split.”

Another employee added: “This a very rewarding job but it also a very demanding job.If we are only allowed one day off at a time and don’t have a proper break we feel this will have an impact on our health and on the standard of care we can provide. The vulnerable people we care for will suffer.”

A Unison trades union official told the Herald: “A meeting is planned between trade unions and management this week. Two options are being put forward by the council. We will look at the detail of what they are proposing and will then go back to our members.”

John Simmons, Director of Integrated Health and Social Care at EDC said: “A strategic review of Homecare has been taken forward over the past year with the full participation of trades unions.

“This looked at employee rotas and shift patterns to ensure that Homecarers are able to deliver the highest standards of care to our customers whilst ensuring that an in-house delivery model was financially sustainable over the longer term.

“Following the decision by the council in June 2015, discussions with the trades unions and employees are ongoing on developing plans for implementation of the new arrangements by January 2016.

“The service and its new working patterns adhere to the Working Time Directive, and we ensure that employees coming off shift in the evening have an adequate break before returning to work. The rota also includes the provision of consecutive days off.

Discussions will continue with individual employees.”