Betty Lyon, UNISON Area Organiser said, "Please come along to these meetings as this is your opportunity to let your employer know how this buddy system is affecting you and your clients, as well as the many other concerns which you have shared with UNISON.
She added, "Don't worry about speaking to your trade union about the issues you have with the “Buddy” or your other concerns. As a UNISON Member, you have a protected legal right to speak to your trade union and you are under no obligation to speak to your employer first before speaking to a trade union representative."
Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "The Branch has already raised all our members' concerns with management in an informal meeting. As a result, further training on the Buddy was set up for Home Care staff.
"However our members tell us that this wasn't as good as they had hoped, and there was only limited opportunity to get their questions answered.
"Management has confirmed that all home carers should be able to get a print-out of hours worked. We are encouraging members to ask their CTCs for this and to let us know if they can't get a copy.
"We are also pushing for home carers to be paid for their full shifts rather than for their visits to clients. This would resolve many of our members' concerns."
Please feel free to contact UNISON if you require further information on 01224 620624 or email Betty Lyon
Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair, who organised the meeting following requests from home care members said, “The issues raised at that meeting have now been sent to management. We have also sent a copy of the report to all home care members across Aberdeenshire and we are urging them to get in touch to let us know of their experience of the “Buddy” and whether it chimes with the concerns expressed by the carers who attended on 12th.”
Kate added, “Staff told us they have had no training to use these phones other that being given a one page instruction sheet. They tell us that the information which is inputted to the phone is not always right. Wrong addresses have been given, and carers have been sent to the same service users as colleagues. Our members worry about the potential for vulnerable service users to be missed out on altogether.
“Just as concerning are reports that the information about service users’ care plans, medication etc is not always accurate and it is only because our carers know their clients that this is picked up. These are very vulnerable older and disabled people and they need to have confidence in their home care service.”
Inez Teece, Branch Secretary added, “Staff are also very worried that their pay is being calculated by using the phone when it clearly doesn’t work properly. Already they often find it difficult to work out their pay and none of them had received a spread-sheet of their hours worked, despite being promised this by management.
“Also, it seems that supervisors are still using carers’ personal phones to contact them and carers have to call hospitals and health centres on their personal phones, often at premium rates. This only highlights the fact that the phones don’t work.
“The Branch has arranged a meeting with management to discuss these and other matters.”