Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols has condemned a not for profit care provider’s plans to cut sick pay and other working conditions.
Ms Nichols and 22 Warrington councillors wrote to Catalyst Choices over its new contract proposals that would entail cuts to sick pay, overtime, bank holiday pay and redundancy payments, the Warrington Guardian reported.
The Labour MP said: “This dedicated group of care workers provide top quality care for elderly and vulnerable people in Warrington. They are the hidden heroes of our community.
“If anything, these devoted and knowledgeable care workers deserve a substantial pay rise – the last thing they need is a substantial cut to their pay and conditions. I strongly urge Catalyst’s management to reconsider their plans.”
Catalyst Choices said existing terms and conditions, inherited from when the organisation was council-led had prevented it from being competitive, leading local authorities to commission services from cheaper competitors.
The provider told CHP it was facing a £600,000 drop in income this financial year and was “trying to do more with less”.
Managing Director, David Osborne said: “We have to operate within the parameters of what our customer is prepared to pay, whilst keeping overheads low and trying to reward our frontline staff who are ultimately our business owners.
“Our staff team is our biggest and most valuable resource; we respect them enormously. Staff are represented by an elected Staff Council drawn from the wider workforce, as well as a Staff Director who sits on the Board.”
The care provider said 70% of its 300-strong workforce had agreed to changes to enhancements and sick pay as well as an increase in their minimum hourly wage to £9 from 1 April.
Catalyst said the proposals would maintain it as one of the highest care providers in Warrington.
The not for profit company added: “It is disappointing that signatories to the open letter have not contacted us directly to discuss their concerns. The Board remain open to discussions about Trade Union recognition and have extended an invitation to UNISON to approach us with suggestions on how to accomplish this effectively within an employee-owned business.”