Home care workers hit out

Care workers feel they and their clients are suffering
Care workers feel they and their clients are suffering

Home care workers employed by East Dunbartonshire Council are in arms over “stressful” shift patterns they claim they have to work.

They say their own health and the personal care they can give to clients, who are mainly elderly and disabled, are 
suffering as a result of their poor working conditions.

Workers told the Herald they are afraid to speak out about their concerns for fear of victimisation.

One said she was threatened with disciplinary action.

But the council deny there is a problem and say there is “no pressure on staff”.

Part of their shift pattern, workers say, means they can finish work at 10pm on a Sunday and are expected to be back at work by 8am the following day.

One of the workers affected said: “I don’t get home from this back shift until about 10.45pm, often later if there is a problem with the client – you can’t just walk out and leave someone in the lurch.

“I also have to wind down a bit before I go to bed then I have to get up again at 6.30am to be at work by 8am. It’s a disgrace. My health is suffering as a result.”

Another worker hit out, saying: “We are not being able to give the proper care to our patients because of the demands being put on us.”

Jim Burnett of UNISON said the union was about to sit down for discussions about shift patterns with East Dunbartonshire Council and urged any union member concerned about their working conditions to get in touch with their trade union official.

John Simmons, director of integrated health and social care at the council said: “No issues have been raised by any individual staff member or by trades unions with regard to hours worked in Homecare.

“No employees are forced to work any shift pattern and all work patterns have been agreed with the workers and with trades unions.

“With regard to the concern raised regarding late starting and early finishing, the service adheres strictly to the Working Time Directive, and we ensure employees coming off shift in the evening have an adequate break.

“There is no pressure on staff to work Mondays. The reverse is the case – the service is actively encouraging workers to take Mondays off, due to an excess of staff being available on that day.”