by Tim Lezard Croydon Employment Tribunal has found in favour of 27 workers told they would be sacked unless they signed new contracts that would see them lose up to £16,000 a year. The GMB members were forced to transfer their employment from the NHS …

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, GMB, UK unions,

Prospect Housingby Tim Lezard

Croydon Employment Tribunal has found in favour of 27 workers told they would be sacked unless they signed new contracts that would see them lose up to £16,000 a year.

The GMB members were forced to transfer their employment from the NHS to Prospect Housing and Support Services. The union argued this was unlawful as their terms and conditions were protected by the TUPE regulations.

The tribunal agreed, ruling an employer is not entitled to harmonise terms and conditions simply to remain competitive or tackle funding reductions.

GMB organiser Sheila Carlson said:  ‘GMB finally got justice for our hard working members working in the care sector. Members can now look forward to receiving their hard earned back-pay as well as their correct salaries in future.

“All along we knew that the decisions that were being taken by Prospect were being made by the CEO, Deborah Tosler, and by her alone. We consistently stated that the harmonisation was wrong as it was targeting the staff that had transferred from the NHS and we have now been proved to be right. Deborah Tosler admitted in the Tribunal that she was incompetent. GMB call on her to now resign.

“The Prospect case is indicative of the race to the bottom in the care sector. Companies start under the guise of working in the voluntary sector but then turn to driving down terms and conditions of employment at the expense of employees and to the detriment of residents.

“Surrey County Council pay a maximum of £326.45 per week for residents who qualify for their residential care costs to be paid by the council. This is way below the £600 per week which is what is needed to provide decent care for our elderly and vulnerable provided by fairly paid staff. GMB will step up our campaign for government to help councils to do so.”

 

Patricia Maloney, one of the employees who brought the case, said: “I had 36 years’ continuous employment under my belt when Prospect imposed on me a £8,200 per year cut in my wages. I felt terrible to be treated like that after so many years of giving 100% to the job. I felt Prospect had no respect for staff.”

Another employee, Jacqueline Haffenden, also won her claim for unfair dismissal when she was dismissed by Prospect for refusing to accept the variation to her terms and conditions of employment.

She said: “When I transferred to Prospect in 2011, we were told that Prospect was not contemplating any changes to our terms and conditions of employment. We now know that that was not true and the Tribunal found that Prospect misled staff. The judgment highlights just how much Prospect failed to value and protect its staff.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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