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Your Choice Barnet care workers and Barnet Unison plan strike action over 9.5 per cent pay cuts
Care workers have unanimously voted in favour of taking strike action following plans to introduce a 9.5 per cent pay cut.
Your Choice Barnet (YCB), which supports people with physical and learning disabilities, wants to make the cuts to offset a current deficit of £400,000.
But staff at the social care organisation took part in a strike ballot organised by Barnet Unison, with a resounding 100 per cent voting for action against the cuts.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Your Choice Care Workers are fighting to preserve a service to some of the most vulnerable people in society.
“This outstanding strike ballot of 100 per cent for strike action shows they have the courage and determination to fight for these critical frontline services.”
"Many of our members have said that the 9.5 per cent cut in pay will mean they simply will not be able to pay their bills and some would struggle to keep their homes.”
In February 2012, Barnet Borough Council transferred learning disability and physical and sensory impairment services for adults to the local authority trading company Your Choice Barnet (YCB).
Approximately160 staff working in adults services transferred to the company, but following a restructure and cuts to pay on shift allowances there are now approximately 105 full time employees working for YCB.
YCB users have also spoken out about the pay cuts, agreeing strike action should be taken.
Ida Sullivan, parent of YCB user, Susan Sullivan, said: “As a parent that has seen the loss in recent months of irreplaceable high quality care workers, I whole heartedly support the proposed strike action of YCB care workers, they deserve better, and this wage cut is unacceptable on any terms.
“Let’s hope this strike stops the decline in the quality of service provision we have witnessed in Barnet since the launch of Your Choice Barnet.”
But Barnet Homes said it was “disappointed” with the ballot and plans to meet with Unison to discuss the potential strike.
A spokeswoman for Barnet Homes said: “We received notification of the outcome of the Choice Barnet ballot last Tuesday, May 27 and were disappointed with the outcome from the ballot, especially as less than half the membership voted.
“This was the last of a series of changes we put in place to secure the future of the services and the organisation and we consulted closely with YCB staff and stakeholders for three months of consultation from January 30 to March 17 and provided feedback on their comments and suggestions.
“Prior to the salary reductions changes we were being paid a market rate of £18.43 per hour and it was costing us £21.81 per hour and this was not sustainable.
“We hope that any action does not affect our vulnerable service users as well as their parents and carers who rely on the service we provide.”
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