Bryson Care have said it is committed to providing long-term employment following concerns about plans to change workers terms and conditions.
The company said it had provided a “high quality, front-line service” in the North West for the past 15 years, but was currently operating in a “challenging environment.”.
The comments come in response to issues raised by UNISON during a protest outside the Bryson Care Offices at Gortfoyle House on Spencer Road in Derry and in Belfast last week.
The workers said they had taken a stance against plans which they said would reduce the terms and conditions of employment of the company’s domiciliary/ homecare workforce. In recent months, the company secured contracts with the Western and Belfast Trusts to provide domiciliary care services to people across both geographical area.
UNISON said it was “alarmed” at Bryson Care’s plans to reduce sickness, mileage allowances and enhanced rates of pay for working bank holidays and weekends.
A spokesperson for the company responded: “Each location operates under a separate contract with the relevant Trust. The contract with the Western Trust is three years and the Belfast Trust agreement is still in procurement - the current extension finishes in July this year. We have a team of 280 staff providing an invaluable frontline service for those in need in those areas.
“Throughout this process we have had open and transparent dialogue with all staff.
“We are aware that a small number of staff are part of the union and are concerned about changes to their contracts. We have engaged with staff and we have listened to their issues, including meeting with the union. It is important to note that each area operates under separate contracts with different working practises, but all of our domiciliary staff are entitled to mileage allowance.
“With regards to our Western team, we are still in consultation and they have been given an enhanced offer and we are confident that we can reach an appropriate outcome for all.
“Our core focus is to protect our staff and continue to offer job security. We have provided a high quality, vital frontline service and employment in the North West for over 15 years and Belfast for 25 years but it is important to note that we continually operate in a challenging environment with increased budgetary pressures.
“In order to continue providing this service for the most vulnerable in society, we believe that the package we have developed will be the most competitive in the independent sector and also the most advantageous for our staff.”