Care home workers to vote on strike action over ‘appalling’ redundancy plan

Residential care workers are to be balloted for strike action from Friday over “appalling” redundancy plans by their employer, a union has said.

Bosses at the Broomfield Court home, in the Barmulloch area of the city, told 47 members of staff on Zoom last month that the specialist dementia care home will be closing at the end of June.

The staff were told by Larchwood Care that the home was “not financially viable” – despite profits reportedly increasing to £3.8 million for the owners last year.

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Workers at the care home will lose their jobs in a few weeks, and will be paid the minimum rate of redundancy pay.

Care home residents face seeing staff take industrial action

A consultative ballot of members of the GMB union, including care, catering and domestic staff, unanimously gave their support to moving to a statutory industrial ballot in a bid to secure enhanced redundancy packages, as well as additional payments for staff working up until the closure date.

The industrial action ballot will run until May 16.

GMB Scotland organiser, Kirsty Nimmo, said: “Larchwood bosses have made it very clear this care home closure is all about profit and not people. Their appalling actions represent everything that’s wrong with our broken care system and the chronic exploitation of its workers.

“Put yourself in the shoes of staff. Two years ago, they were being applauded by politicians and the public for their heroic and selfless care of vulnerable residents in the grip of a fatal pandemic – a pandemic that hasn’t gone away – and now they are facing the loss of their livelihoods.

“Larchwood can’t be allowed to ditch these key workers on the cheap. Our members want better value from their employer for everything they’ve done, so they won’t face displacement or unemployment in immediate hardship.

“It’s the very least they deserve.”

A spokesperson for the home said: “The decision to close the home has not been taken lightly. The combination of low occupancy and fee rates, together with the huge rise in energy costs and other inflationary pressures, have made the position untenable.

“We are proud of the staff for the way they have cared for our residents during the pandemic and beyond.

“We will fulfil all our contractual financial obligations to staff, and we are working proactively to support them in finding alternative roles within the care sector, where there are increasing levels of vacancies.”

The strike action threat emerged less than 24 hours after local government workers have indicated that they are prepared to take industrial action over pay.

Unison said an indicative ballot of members found that 89.8% of respondents said they would be willing to take some form of action up to and including a strike in pursuit of an acceptable offer.

It has written to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) about the issue in a joint letter with Unite and the GMB.

Unison said an indicative ballot of members found that 89.8% of respondents said they would be willing to take some form of action up to and including a strike in pursuit of an acceptable offer.

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