Unite Regional Officer, Gareth Scott has described the proposal to cut the Western Health and Social Care Trust’s budget by £7m over the next five months as “unjust and unworkable”.
Speak to The Sunday Journal, Mr. Scott said the the announcement made by the Trust on Thursday was “knee-jerk” and added that it was a “direct attack” on Unite members.
“The announcement represents a poorly thought-through knee-jerk reaction by management. The Western Trust area will pilot this initiative with our health service playing the role of guinea-pig for the rest of Northern Ireland,” said Mr. Scott.
“We consider that the move away from full-time contracts amounts to a direct attack on nationally agreed terms and conditions as implemented by Agenda for Change. It is directed at some of the lowest paid workers. It will affect workers by reducing annual leave and public holiday entitlements; overtime will only be allowable after an additional 2.5 hours work has been delivered; and staff will have to work years longer for a full service pension.”
Mr. Scott went on to that the proposals will not make significant savings and explained that it could result in more work for staff.
“The Trust estimates that the move will save only £68,000, far short of the £7 million of cuts being sought by the WHSCT. What is worse is that this is a false economy and will only result in even greater workloads being placed on staff as the same work will be expected to be done in much shorter-hours leading to greater occurrences of work-related stress and possibly other work-related health and safety issues.
“Unite totally rejects this proposal. Already many of our members have expressed their opinion that this decision is unjust, unworkable and unnecessary.”