UNISON urges Warrington Borough Council to step in and protect low-paid care workers

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Warrington Borough Council must act to stop a local care company cutting staff wages, pensions and holiday pay.

Private firm Catalyst Choices – which has been providing care services for Warrington since 2015 – is planning to reduce the pay of former council workers outsourced to the company. As part of their transfer staff were guaranteed the same pay and conditions as council workers.

With its five-year contract up for renewal, UNISON Warrington fears Catalyst plans to drive down costs by targeting low-paid staff and cutting pay, pensions and holiday entitlements, as it bids for a new council deal.

Catalyst has refused to negotiate with UNISON about its plans and will only deal with individual workers, creating a David and Goliath situation for its employees.

The union has also been barred from a Catalyst drop-in event at Woodleigh Care Home tonight, where staff concerns will be discussed. UNISON officials will offer support to staff, but outside the event.

UNISON North West schools organiser Keith Bradley said: “Catalyst is refusing to talk about its plan.

"This  lack of engagement is bad for workers. It  suggests Catalyst wants to cut out the union so it can hack away at employees’ pay, holidays, pensions, and sick pay.

“If the council allows Catalyst to drive through its plans, vulnerable local people, under-pressure workers and the reputation of the council are all at risk. Councillors must step in and end this unpleasant  corporate bullying.”

Warrington North MP Helen Jones said: “Catalyst is refusing to recognise UNISON  and wants to deal with staff individually. This is a totally unacceptable way to behave towards its workforce, the majority of whom are low-paid women, caring for the most vulnerable people in our community.

“It’s dreadful that this company is seeking to worsen the pay of people already on low pay who do vital work. Perhaps the Chief Executive could set an example if he is worried about costs and take a pay cut himself.

“I hope that the council will join me and put pressure on Catalyst Choices to work with UNISON. At present it looks like they are trying to pick employees off one by one and cut their working conditions."

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