The health and social care charity Turning Point is to sack its entire workforce of more than 2,000 and re-employ staff on new contracts.
The trade union Unite claims that the plans of the charity, a health and social care provider that helps people to tackle substance misuse, mental health issues, learning disabilities or employment difficulties, will force some employees out of their homes and lead to a deterioration of the charity’s services.
Turning Point is consulting staff on changes to terms and conditions of employment, including the removal of enhancements, such as pay for unsocial hours, and changes to redundancy entitlement.
These would be implemented by terminating its 2,393 employees’ existing contracts and re-engaging them on new contracts. The move will mean some staff members being paid less.
In a statement, the charity said cuts in local authority and health budgets were "starting to bite and there is much more to come". It said its proposals, which would be "personally difficult for some people", were not taken lightly but were a result of "economic necessity". Its competitors had already made cuts to terms and conditions, it claimed.
"This will affect a lot of people in different ways in Turning Point, but we need to move towards a market rate for employees, one that protects their base pay," its statement said. "Indeed, we are proposing to increase base pay for those who are the lowest paid. The proposals are looking at various enhancements including those paid for unsocial hours, many of which are no longer paid within the market. The proposals are not about pay cuts, although we understand that there will be some reduction of take-home pay for some employees.
"The proposals are alongside the need to review staff rotas and out-of-hours provision, so that we have a recognised, consistent rate across the organisation."
Jamie Major, Unite regional officer, said the charity’s plan was "devastating" for staff. "Already I am hearing sickening stories of how individuals will lose their homes, will have to rely on food banks and will be set back decades in their standard of living," he said. "Many of our 450 members stand to lose thousands of pounds a year; some could be out of pocket to the tune of £10,000.
"Turning Point has charitable status, but I question how an organisation driving cuts such as these could have the gall to call itself a charity. This is a race to the bottom."
Major said Turning Point’s management was breaking faith with its staff. "Management say they are doing this so that they can compete with the competitive bidding process in the charity sector – but caring for vulnerable people should not be equated with the profit motive of the private sector," he said.
The news follows a Unite announcement that hundreds of staff at Amnesty International UK and at Amnesty International’s global headquarters in London will be taking industrial action next Tuesday in separate disputes over job losses.
About 145 Unite members at AIUK and 300 working at the international secretariat will strike for 24 hours.