I am writing to confirm that we are entering into a major dispute with Alternative Futures Group, a learning disability provider in the North West.
AFG has announced that they are removing “top up” from the pay of support workers in the service. “Top up” was paid so that staff pay was in conformity with the national minimum wage legislation. The removal of “top up” would mean staff on poverty pay face pay cuts from November of £30 to more than £100 per week.
We have 700 AFG members affected by the proposals working in all Councils area across the North West. The members are all based in Bridgewater Health branch
Region has organised meetings with members across the North West and the response from staff from the meetings held to date has been very strong. We are looking at escalating industrial action, i.e. a ban on sleep ins. More meetings are planned. A public petition has also expressed strong support for the dispute – 12,000 plus signatures to date.
The Council Commissioners have also been written to. The responses to date have shown that none of them are cutting learning disability monies and, therefore, the AFG cuts are not justified.
We are looking, therefore, to initiate a formal industrial action ballot across AFG immediately in the New Year. This is the earliest date for a capable ballot. The members will, of course, welcome any support from individual branches on this dispute.
I will keep affected branches and regional colleagues advised of progress.