Turning Point’s boss Lord Victor Adebowale has been deluged by more than 6,500 emails protesting at plans to cut the pay and conditions of the organisation’s 2,600 staff.
The proposals by the Turning Point charity have already forced some staff members to resort to food banks to survive.
Unite, the country’s largest union, which has seen a surge in new members at Turning Point due to these proposals, is currently consulting members on whether they wish to proceed to an industrial action ballot, and there are plans to then progress to ballot for strike action in targeted areas.
Unite said that employees have until 17 May to sign new contracts on inferior terms and conditions – otherwise they will be out of a job. Some members could be out of pocket to the tune of £10,000-a-year as a result of these ‘shabby’ new contracts.
Unite said that Turning Point had agreed to the union’s request that the dispute is referred to the conciliation service, Acas – but had refused to withdraw its notice terminating employees’ current contracts in the meantime.
Unite national officer for the not for profit sector Sally Kosky said: “The underlying problem at the charity stems from the coalition’s harsh austerity measures that have meant swingeing cuts to some of the most vulnerable in society.
“However Turning Point is not in financial crisis and is taking this course of action so it is in a position to further expand the business.
“This is at the expense of the current, and future workforce, and will have a knock-on effect in driving down pay and conditions across the social care sector.
“Supporters have sent more than 6,500 emails to Lord Adebowale protesting at the harsh regime he seems intent on imposing on staff. But he is not listening, so we are holding a consultative ballot on whether to proceed to a full industrial action ballot.”
Lord Adebowale recently spoke in the House of Lords of his concerns with the government’s so-called reforms. He said: “I am worried that the impact of welfare changes, spending cuts to services and rising living costs could contribute to a further increase in the use of food banks.”
But this is already happening to his own workers.
On Friday (12 April), representatives from across the social care sector held a protest outside NHS England board meeting in London.
They were angry at Turning Point’s plans to take services out of the NHS and then stripping its employees of hard-earned benefits, such as redundancy pay, overtime, unsociable hours, pay, and Agenda for Change pay rises.
Sally Kosky added: “As a member of the NHS England board, Turning Point’s chief executive Lord Victor Adebowale should treat workers decently.”
The 2,600 staff affected work in hundreds of community projects and services in England and Wales which are dedicated to helping those with mental health, substance abuse and employment problems.
For further information please contact Unite regional officer 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