Unison is considering industrial action as care home staff employed by Surrey County Council are no longer receiving more money for working shifts that involve weekends, late nights and bank holidays.
Enhancements were introduced in April to reward them for the extra work they took on during the pandemic but were withdrawn earlier this month,
UNISON branch secretary Paul Couchman said:
“Although always seen by the council as a temporary measure, for me it doesn’t make sense to take it away now, with cases increasing.
“They’re still going to need staff to step up to the plate and cover for people who are shielding and self-isolating.
“Whilst most residents have shown their support by joining in the clapping of appreciation it seems the county council is unwilling to recognise the continuing sacrifices care staff are making.”
Nursing home worker Justina Faltado (Tina), who worked in a private nursing home here in Farnham, paid the ultimate sacrifice when she died of Covid-19 in May, aged 54.
She is among other care-workers of a similarly young age who have died after contracting the virus in Surrey.
The council agreed to continue to pay enhanced wages if the evening and weekend work is overtime, but not when part of normal rotas.
A care worker doing a seven-hour shift on a weekend or bank holiday and finishing at 10 pm will receive less than £80 before tax.
Duncan Eastoe, Unison rep for Mallow Crescent, said: “This is a real kick in the teeth.” There have been three positive cases among residents at Mallow Crescent, a Guildford residential home for adults with learning difficulties, but no cases among staff.
Mr Eastoe said: “Social distancing is incredibly difficult, you just can’t do it when you’re shaving someone or making sure they don’t fall over in the shower.”
A few of the staff are over 50 and have underlying conditions, so it is down to their colleagues to share the load, he said.