Care UK’s director of learning disability services Chris Hindle, said: "Care UK is deeply disappointed that Unison called for strike action over a completely new dispute within Doncaster’s learning disability service, despite the vast majority of colleagues accepting the revised terms and conditions opposed by the union.
“We are now halfway through the 14 day strike and are continuing to successfully deliver a full service that is allowing our service users to lead their normal daily lives. Around 85 per cent of our team are working normally, didn’t vote to strike and are focused on supporting the vulnerable people who use the service. Fewer than 30 per cent of Unison’s own members either voted to strike or are taking action.
“The reality is that more than 90 per cent of colleagues transferring to Care UK have now accepted the revised terms and conditions necessary to put the service on a sustainable footing, including receipt of a transitional payment equivalent to up to 14 months difference in earnings. This is a substantial step forward, which we had hoped would allow everyone to focus on improving the service to better meet the needs of services users.
“Instead, Unison called strike action in a separate dispute over pay. The union has indicated verbally that it is demanding a pay rise of up to 10 per cent. This is simply unrealistic in light of the reduced funding available from the council and seems totally at odds with what is happening in comparable jobs in the NHS and other public sector roles where settlements, if any, are a fraction of this.
“The fundamental position remains the same. The changes we have proposed and which have been largely accepted have protected jobs, protected generous final salary pension rights, protected basic pay and protected future pay increment increases.
“Transitional payments of up to 14 months difference in earnings have been paid to all those affected who asked for them. We have been able to do this at a time when the council’s funding available for the service has reduced. We don’t believe that further additional pay increases, taking some starting salaries to levels above those in comparable NHS organisations, can currently be afforded, but we are committed to continuing discussions with Unison.
“We understand that the past few months have been a difficult time for colleagues, but know that we now need to focus on the service users we support and on continuing to deliver improvements within the service.”