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Mencap care staff strike over pay

Mencap care staff strike over pay
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Mencap care staff strike over pay

Finance | Gareth Jones | 1 Apr 2008

Employees at five care homes run by learning disability charity Mencap in Wakefield staged a 48-hour walkout last weekend following a pay dispute .

Fifteen staff took part in the strike, which was followed by a protest on Monday outside Mencap’s Wakefield office.

The roots of the dispute go back to 2004, when 30 NHS staff were transferred to the charity on a higher pay scale than existing staff.

Annual pay rises stopped 

In October last year Mencap bosses decided to close the pay gap by halting annual pay rises for the former NHS staff.

The situation is further complicated because, as of this week, Mencap no longer holds the contract with Wakefield Council to run the care homes. They are being taken over by learning disability charity Choice Support.

Choice Support will meet with union officials next month to discuss future pay scales, but Unison insists that Mencap should backdate pay to October based on the original scale.

Jim Bell, regional officer for Unison, said Mencap had refused to engage in talks to resolve the dispute and was arguing that the TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)) regulations did not require it to continue pay rises.

Mencap's failure to engage with us means that the cover provided may be from people unknown to the residents and that in itself could cause them some distress.”

He added that he had spoken to both Wakefield Council and Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, about the issue, and the minister had agreed to speak to health secretary Alan Johnson about the dispute.

“We’re approaching this from several angles, and they’re making a mistake because this is going to follow them around the country whenever they are competing for contracts.”

'Services not affected' 

In a statement, Mencap provided assurance that service users would not be affected.

“Extensive records are kept of all individual service users and we will be using experienced staff to ensure the continuity of care does not compromise the level of service received by people living in Mencap accommodation.

“We regret that Unison is taking strike action. Our priority is to continue to provide a quality service for people with a learning disability and our first concern is to make sure their service is not disrupted.”

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