New shift patterns are a worry for care staff

Carers are worried that their family life will suffer
Carers are worried that their family life will suffer

Council care workers say controversial proposed new shift rotas could end up costing the authority a fortune in overtime.

Worried East Dunbartonshire workers contacted the Herald after seeing proposed new rotas for the first time in February.

They claim the changes could see them working up to six weekends in a row, and would also involve a mix of back shifts and early morning starts.

They claim that their own proposal of an alternative rota change has been discounted out of hand by council chiefs.

One angry care worker, who did not want to be named, told the Herald: ‘‘You could have three lates in a week, then two earlies, finishing at 10pm and back at a client’s house at 7.30am.

“Currently we do one week on days then one week on back shift.

‘‘We also currently work one weekend on, one off, or two at most.

“The new rota could see us working three weekends out of four, or even six in a row.”

The worker added: ‘‘They say it is to cut down on overtime.

“But people are going to have to use their annual leave just to get a weekend with their families, so that will have to be covered, and sickness levels are already bad, but I think they will increase.

“This almost encourages sickness.’’

She says she and colleagues have contacted the unions, but fear their hands will be tied.

She explained: ‘‘I don’t know a single employee who likes this.

“Most of us have the app on our phones to look for other jobs.

‘‘We can either put up with it or leave. They are really giving us no option, but most of us have no choice, we have mortgages to pay.’’

But the council says unions have been fully involved in the discussions and two different rotas will be put to staff.

John Simmons, director of integrated health and social care said: “A strategic review of homecare is currently being taken forward with the full participation of trades unions. This is looking at staff rotas and shift patterns to ensure that homecarers are able to deliver the highest standards of care to our customers.

“Following discussions, two potential rotas have been circulated to the trades unions for debate amongst their members.

“Once these talks are concluded we will meet again to discuss their views.

As yet, no changes have been agreed and no decisions have been taken.”