Union vows to battle care jobs privatisation

UNION bosses have vowed to step up the fight against the privatisation of home care jobs in Carmarthenshire.

Allied Healthcare International recently landed a four-year contract with county hall bosses, worth an undisclosed fee, that will see the care specialists deliver 2,000 hours of home care services per week in the county. The service will be split between Llanelli and Carmarthen from April 1.

The move is part of the council’s commitment to restructuring the way it cares for the elderly and vulnerable, with the emphasis on people being looked after in their own homes.

However, Unison organiser for the county Jeff Baker said he would be fighting any future moves to hand over care jobs to the private sector.

“There is a general drift into the private sector for home care, and hours which had been previously used for in-house are drifting away to the private sector,” he said.

“In Neath Port Talbot, they have come across the same difficulty. There is a similar situation in Swansea.

“We are looking at joining our colleagues in Neath Port Talbot and Swansea and re-igniting our campaign. Last year, we had a meeting with [social care director] Bruce McLernon to try to get an undertaking that they would try to keep it in-house as much as possible, but we couldn’t reach an agreement.”

Mr McLernon said: “The council already contracts with a number of independent sector home care providers, and has undertaken an exercise to rationalise the number it works with. Allied Health Care will be one of four main providers undertaking work which is currently with the independent sector.

“The local authority meets regularly with the trade unions and the new developments have been discussed with them.”