Pay dispute company set up to bid for contracts may soon operate in East Lancashire (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Pay dispute company set up to bid for contracts may soon operate in East Lancashire
A COMPANY which was controversially set up by an NHS trust to bid for council contracts could soon operate in East Lancashire.
Future Directions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Whalley-based Calderstones Partnership NHS Trust, has been embroiled in a bitter pay dispute with dozens of workers in Rochdale.
Staff who were transferred to the ‘community interest company’ have twice held strike action after their basic salary was cut by up to 28 per cent.
David Young, who retired as chief executive of Calderstones last week, said Future Directions was ‘certainly’ set up to win contracts across the region, including East Lancashire. He added: “The NHS commissions healthcare and local authorities commission social care.
The two sides are very different and the ways in which services are delivered is very different. In order to give the best for both those separate worlds, a separate organisation was the best way to do it. The NHS way of doing things isn’t the best way to provide services in the community and there’s always been a tension where that’s been done.
“It depends on the remit given by local authorities on whether it’s cheaper. We aim to support commissioners to get the best quality services within their budget. Councils have their own terms and conditions and ways of doing things.”
Lizanne Devonport, regional organiser for the Unison union, fears the Rochdale dispute would be replicated elsewhere.
She said: “Over recent months, almost 200 care workers across the North West have been formally transferred from being employees of Calderstones to being employees of Future Directions.
“We are concerned that the trust’s intention is that this should be a prelude to worsening the terms and conditions of these NHS staff.”
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