From 8 am on Sunday, 25th August 2013 more than 100 workers will undertake 5 days of strike action sending Future Directions a clear message that the fight against the substantial cuts to their pay and terms and conditions has not gone away. This action comes on top of 14 days of strike action already taken in recent months.
Anne Marie Hetherington who is a Personal Assistant working for Future Directions said:
“I am proud of the work we do and the support we provide, I work 30 hours a week and provide support for a service user going through some bad times, in their home and in a hospital environment. This is why it is not easy to keep going on strike, but what else can we do? When Future Directions took over they sacked the lot of us gave us new contracts on much lower pay, less holidays and less sick pay. On average I am loosing £500 per month and I am now using my savings to help subsidise my income and I am just about making ends meet. Colleagues without savings are finding themselves in debt. We are a really hard working and experienced group of workers. I have 23 years in service, I recently found a payslip from 1989 when I started and compared it to my payslip from this month, how sad to find that I am getting less pay now in real terms than the wage I was paid back then! Morale is rock bottom and stress levels are through the roof. We want to negotiate a fair deal but Future Directions will not budge. We would rather not take strike action, but we care and need to provide for our families, our community and our service users and that is why we will take more strike action if that’s what it takes.”
Future Directions CIC which is a company owned by Calderstones NHS Trust bid for the contract to provide supportive living services from Rochdale Council, knowing that to make the contract viable they would need to make financial cuts as soon as they were awarded the contract. Future Directions are looking to expand their business and bid for more contracts at the expense of the workers who continue to deliver care to vulnerable adults, taking advantage of the fact that these workers care about the work they do and the people they work with.
UNISON is calling on Future Directions CIC to enter into meaningful negotiations with a view to resolving this ongoing dispute.