Workers at Equinox Care – the charity dealing with substance abuse problems – will stage a protest later today (Tuesday 16 April) over pay cuts of up to £6,000-a-year for many staff.
The management is proposing cuts of up to 25 per cent for frontline workers directly working with some of the most vulnerable people in society. As a result, most staff are facing cuts of between £4,000 to £6,000-a-year.
Employees will be staging a demonstration outside the board meeting of Equinox, 177 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 0ED at 17.00 today (Tuesday 16 April).
Unite, the country’s largest union, said while the workers are being asked to take large pay cuts, the chief executive Bill Puddicombe is being offered - for the first time in Equinox Care’s history - ‘a small amount of performance related pay’.
Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: “Staff can be excused for believing that this performance bonus will be earned as a direct result of drastically reducing their wages.
“All too typically, senior managers are not being asked to take anything like that type of percentage cut. This smacks of blatant hypocrisy.
“The response from Equinox management has been little short of dismissive, saying that they are quite prepared to lose some of their more qualified staff and, in fact, baldly stating that some of these same staff are over qualified, and that their experience and skills ‘exceed requirements’.
“This has come as a surprise to these same workers, as many have been working for Equinox for between 10 and 20 years, and believed that the skills they possessed were not only valued, but were an essential requirement for their posts.
“In these tough times, it seems that Equinox has chosen to promote a de-skilling business model, driving down wages and putting at risk the quality of services provided to those struggling with alcohol, drug and mental health problems.”
Equinoxcare is a social care organisation which offers specialist care to vulnerable men and women with alcohol, drug and mental health problems in various residential and community-based services.
For further information please contact Jamie Major on 07879 692021 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.