Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 13:34 UK

Care workers' redundancy threat

A child looks out of the window
Quarriers provides residential care to vulnerable children and young adults

One of Scotland's biggest charities which cares for vulnerable children has threatened its 2,000 staff with redundancy, according to a trade union.

Unison claimed that Quarriers had told workers they would be dismissed and re-hired on new contracts if they did not agree to pay changes.

The charity had been negotiating with unions about changes to staff conditions since May.

Quarriers said all contracts would only be terminated as a "last resort".

Unison said the redundancy threat was issued in a letter on Friday.

The union said the charity's management wanted to cut staff night shift payments and payments for public holidays.

Our members work very hard for the charity and provide an excellent service to some of the most vulnerable in society
Stephen Brown

It also claimed Quarriers had proposed cutting sick pay by a quarter for any worker with less than five years service.

The charity has more than 100 projects across Scotland and provides residential accommodation for vulnerable children and young people and adults with disabilities.

Stephen Brown, branch secretary, of Unison Quarriers' branch, said: "Unison recognises Quarriers is feeling the financial pinch and were prepared to meet Quarriers in order to negotiate properly.

"I am therefore disappointed that Quarriers has decided to fall back on gun boat diplomacy by threatening our members with the sack.

"Our members work very hard for the charity and provide an excellent service to some of the most vulnerable in society.

"Quarriers continually say that their value their staff but this threat shows how much they really value us."

'Funding deficits'

Unison called on the charity to withdraw the notice and negotiate with its members.

Phil Robinson, Quarriers chief executive said: "Quarriers has entered into a formal process of 90-day consultation with staff over potential changes in terms and conditions and other savings needed to meet funding deficits.

"This consultation is with a view to reaching agreement on those changes.

He added: "No decision has been made where the cuts will be. Quarriers' primary intention is to retain staff and services and avoid redundancies.

"Only at a last resort would consideration be given to the potential of all contracts being terminated and new contracts issued with new terms and conditions."

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