Dozens of Doncaster workers who care for adults with learning difficulties have voted for a seven day continuous strike over proposals to slash their pay.
In an “unprecedented” ballot result, carried out by Unison, 96.6 per cent of Care UK staff agreed for industrial action.
The move comes after news broke that employees face evening and weekend work wage cuts after Care UK announced proposed changes to the terms and conditions in their contracts.
Jim Bell, regional officer for Unison informed a packed meeting at Doncaster Trades and Labour Club yesterday: “We balloted 167 members in total which meant we had a turnout of 70.7 per cent. This is a tremendous and unprecedented return in Yorkshire and the Humber.
“We asked ‘are you prepared to take action short of a strike’, 111 voted for. That’s 97.4 percent of the workforce.
“We then asked ‘are you prepared for strike action’, 118 votes were cast and 113 voted for strike.
“The members have decided the preferred course of action will be to go for seven days continuous strike action, and action short of strike will be continuous - including withdrawal of goodwill, refusal to drive and sticking to contractual obligations.
“We will now seek authorisation from Unison headquarters and then the employer will be given seven days a notice.
“We could be looking at strike action before the end of the month.”
Care UK won a tender from Doncaster Council to take over the care of more than 130 people with learning disabilities on September 1.
The service was previously provided by RDaSH and its 245 staff members were also transferred to Care UK.
Jim Bell added: “We gave the enmployer the results of the ballot at 5pm on Thursday and they indicated immediately that they wanted to talk.”
Care UK’s director of learning disability services Chris Hindle said: “We are sorry that Unison has decided to take this unnecessary and regrettable step which is clearly intended to disrupt the service offered to these vulnerable people. In the event of any strike action, we are confident that our contingency plans will enable us to continue to offer a safe and fulfilling environment for the people that the service supports.
“From the outset, the council made it very clear that whichever provider was chosen to deliver this service would have to reduce spend as well as improve the service.
“We have not made anyone redundant, our proposal does not touch people’s basic pay and we have already protected future annual pay increments and secured NHS future final salary pension rights for everyone transferring to Care UK in this service.
“Striking will not bring any more money from Doncaster Council so we all have to work together to find a way forward.
“We believe the best way to achieve was to review the rates and opportunities for things like working evenings or weekends, to bring paid holiday and sick pay into line with what is more normal for this sector and to provide transitional arrangements which compensate individuals for any change in earnings for a further year.”