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Unions slam pay talks deferral

Unions slam pay talks deferral

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 1:48pm 6th May 2020.

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter 

A row has broken out between unions and a council owned company with union bosses saying a decision to defer pay talks until September is “insulting”.

Three trade unions issued a statement criticising Corserv for delaying pay talks for almost 2,500 staff including care workers employed on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis.

The unions said that the company had cited the coronavirus and cash flow as the reason to defer pay talks.

However Corserv has defended the move saying that it had implemented an above inflation pay rise for more than 1,000 staff just last month.

Unite, the GMB and Unison said that the decision by Corserv was “hypocritical and insulting”.

Corserv employs people in a number of different areas including care workers, fire and rescue services, social housing and road maintenance.

“What we have here is a situation that is both hypocritical and insulting. Every Thursday the people of Cornwall clap for NHS and social care staff, yet within 24 hours, the very workers lauded as ‘heroes’ are denied even the prospect of a basic pay rise. Our hard working care workers, who are putting their lives on the line on a daily basis to provide personal care and support for the most needy and vulnerable in Cornwall, have today been informed by their employer Corserv that, except for the Foundation Living Wage  they will not receive a cost of living pay rise from April 2020."

             Deborah Hopkins, Unite regional officer 

Deborah went on to say “The announcement that pay talks are deferred until September on the grounds that there is no money because of coronavirus and to say there is no guarantee of a pay increase even then is an insult to key workers.

“This shows us that local and central government are not prepared to reward the vital work employees in Corserv, which is owned by Cornwall Council, are undertaking every single day during this coronavirus crisis.

“We urge the public to write to their local councillor and MP asking for a decent above inflation pay rise for our key workers, as our neighbours in Devon have done.”

GMB regional organiser Helen Coley said on Friday: “This is a real slap in the face for our members working in Conserv.

 “Just last night we saw people come out to applaud NHS, care and essential workers, whilst their employer Corserv, their own council and the government short-changed them.

“It is of the utmost importance that we see these staff paid what they deserve, and this process must restart immediately so we recognise all the hard work that the staff have been doing in unbelievable circumstances.”

Unison local government branch said: “What a disgrace, these workers have been bending over backwards, changing job role and shift patterns to accommodate all the changes and this is what they get as a ‘thanks’.”

However Corserv hit back saying that it had implemented an above inflation pay rise in April after negotiations with unions.

“Due to the on-going negotiations with the Unions that began in September 2019, Corserv decided to implement an above inflation pay award on 1 April 2020, to over 1,000 of its front-line employees, including all our front-line domiciliary care employees. We are proud that our remuneration package for Corserv Care employees remains one of the best in the county, this is in recognition of the very valuable work they undertake. The Cost of Living award that is applicable to managers and other employees remains outstanding and will be reviewed again in September 2020. As with many businesses, Corserv is rising to the challenge to support the county in its response to the coronavirus crisis. Many of our service contracts have been temporarily adjusted, which has had a significant impact on our income. By September we will have a clearer view on our financial position and affordability for the year ahead.“

              Corserv company statement 

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