Striking Alternative Futures Group workers are going to Westminster on Wednesday to meet with MPs.
Care support workers employed by the Alternative Futures Group (AFG) will begin a seven-day ban on working sleep-in shifts tonight (Monday) as their dispute over pay cuts intensifies.
The staff are on low wages and are facing significant cuts to their incomes due to AFG’s decision to reduce sleep-in top-up payments by £15 for each shift. Some staff work three of these shifts each week and face a cut to their income of more than £2,000 a year.
AFG receives funding from local authorities across the North West to provide care services for vulnerable adults. Most councils in the region have neither instructed commissioned providers to reduce sleep-in pay for staff nor reduced the funding available for this purpose.
A delegation of AFG workers will attend a demonstration outside the employer’s Prescot headquarters on Tuesday lunchtime.
AFG workers will also attend a Parliamentary lobby at Westminster on Wednesday to highlight their concerns to MPs.
Linda, a care support worker from Ashton-under-Lyne, will be among the striking AFG staff who will be visiting Parliament. She said:
“We are all struggling to get by on the minimum wage and we can’t afford a cut to our incomes. There is a danger that some very good care workers will be lost to the service because we can’t afford to keep working without being paid for our time.
“Both me and my husband work for the company. We stand to lose over £350 a month, so it will be devastating for our household.
“It’s important that the MPs know what Alternative Futures are doing and the effects on the staff and the service.”
UNISON North West Regional Organiser Paddy Cleary said:
“AFG are not doing right by their staff or their service users. Their attack on the living standards of already-low-paid staff is needless and damaging.
“AFG staff are taking strike action because their employer refuses to see sense. The staff care very deeply about the service users, and they see AFG’s management of the service driving experienced staff out of the care sector.
“There is an urgent need to get this matter resolved and for AFG to pay staff the sleep-in top-up payments that they need. They deserve so much more and it is the very least that AFG should do.”