A national care group has refuted a union accusation that it was making “unacceptable demands’ on its workforce during the coronavirus outbreak.
GMB London alleged staff at Bondcare were told to sign forms committing them to “pack supplies” and move into their care homes and “remain onsite” for unspecified periods without additional pay.
Lola McEvoy, GMB London Region Organiser, said: “It doesn’t take an expert to know that the Covid19 virus would decimate our care homes. Our elderly have been ignored and our social care workers neglected. For years these staff have been told they’re only worth the absolute minimum wage and minimum sick pay and now they face the maximum risk to their own lives. It cannot be overstated how disturbing the stories we hear from members are.
“They are unprotected, underpaid and lose the majority of their income if they catch the virus. The government must take action to guarantee no one working on the frontline is expected to face such huge personal sacrifices and risk for the absolute minimum pay and protection.”
Responding to the GMB’s claims, a Bondcare spokesman told CHP: “At Bondcare, our primary concern is the wellbeing of our staff and residents. At the early stage of the outbreak and before the government lockdown had been put in place, we took a number of actions to address the safety of both staff and residents. In-line with other care homes, we offered staff the option of staying onsite and becoming members of our COVID-19 response team as part of a scoping exercise into various methods of preventing the spread of the virus.
“This was not a way of extending staff’s working day; staff made their own decisions about what would be appropriate for their own personal circumstances. A number of our wonderful care staff did choose to stay onsite. We continue to prioritise their safety and concerns, as well as the best interests of our residents, during these challenging times.”