Anger over proposed care staff shift changes

Care services
Care services

Council care staff are up in arms over plans to change their shift patterns which they say will have a detrimental impact on their clients.

Meetings have been taking place 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, most of them elderly.

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.”

A fellow 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.”

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

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

A Unison trades union 
official confirmed to the 
Herald meetings had 
been taking place between trade unions and EDC management.

He added: “Two options are being put forward by the council. We will look at the detail of what they are proposing and will then take this back to our members.” We will be guided by 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.”