GMB members given a fortnight to study and pass exams or face dismissal

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Care workers in Hampshire face the sack in a fortnight unless they study for – and pass – eleven exams in their own time.

GMB members at Woodcot Lodge in Gosport have been told that after finishing their shifts, they must in their own time and at their own cost complete a series of eleven online course modules by 5th December or face dismissal.

A member of staff, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We’ve been told we must complete these exams from home, yet most of us have neither the time or the facilities to accomplish this. We would ideally complete these exams during our shifts but we are so short-staffed and under- equipped we simply do not have the time. Some of us have also been told that we can’t take our holidays at present as there are simply not enough staff available to cover us.

“To say that they will dismiss us for not being able to fulfil this request is just wrong. We don’t mind the concept of learning or taking exams but to force us to do this unpaid, in our own time and without the necessary equipment is wrong. Most of us have our own family and care commitments away from work. We just don’t understand why they won’t invest and support us instead of using threats.”

Those affected are former Southern Cross employees, now working at Woodcot Lodge, which is owned by Four Seasons.

GMB regional organiser Adrian Baker said: “GMB members are infuriated to find that local care home manager Ms Cath Beezer is using a novel approach to motivate her staff. She is saying “do unpaid homework or face dismissal”. This is an outrage.

“These care workers work long and demanding hours and are now also being asked to spend the little time they have in their personal life to sit online exams and pass them by December 5th or face dismissal. When Four Seasons took over this home from Southern Cross, staff had hoped for support following a period of instability, not threats to their employment.”


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