Rhondda Cynon Taf carers stage protest over 'cuts' to home care services

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council say their finances have been pressed meaning they're having to make difficult choices.

People who rely on care services in Rhondda Cynon Taf said they are worried that they will receive reduced service after a decision to privatise all long-term care provision by the council.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council voted in favour of transferring home care services and supported living services to the private sector.

It comes amid protests by members of the GMB and Unite Unions, who say the council changes are going to hit carers, but also impact people's care.

Carers from the GMB and Unite Union staged the protest outside the council building whilst councillors arrived for the meeting.

Donald Ward has had council carers visiting for the last four years. He described them as "second to none."

"They know how to handle my wife, Joan, and of course, she's more comfortable with them", he said.

"When you have private carers, you have different people every time so you haven't got the same bond with the people.

"Without them, I would be lost. I am a bit scared really."

Members of the GMB and Unite unions say that the council is outsourcing their responsibilities to look after some of the most vulnerable people in society, without looking at alternatives.

RCT council say that a reduction in their budget has meant they've had to make difficult decisions.

Despite today's announcement, the majority of the council's long-term care is already outsourced to independent providers.

The council say they are facing a "significant budget gap" next year.

However, those protesting against the decision say the rest of those who received care from the council are losing a vital service.

Protesters gathered outside the council building early on Monday morning, ahead of the council's cabinet meeting.

Steve Hardy is a council carer and was outside the headquarters. He said: "it's not so much the workforce, it's for the individuals in the community here."

"I understand they've got to make cuts, but they've got to make sensible cuts and it's got to be for the right reasons and not for profit."

Members of the cabinet were booed by protesters as they arrived at the building, but inside, the councillors voted unanimously to make the changes.

A Council spokesperson said: “The Council is not privatising all Home Care Services in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

"Under these proposals, the Council will continue to provide all reablement and intermediate home care.

“The Council is facing a significant budget gap next year, due to rising cost pressures and reduced funding to Wales from the UK Government.

"The Council, therefore, has no alternative other than to review how services can be delivered differently.

Cabinet members were booed as they entered the council building.

"These proposals would see no change in the level of service or care received.

“The proposals include the transfer of all eligible care staff, through TUPE, protecting existing terms and conditions and access to the Local Authorities Pension Scheme.”

Reacting to Rhondda Cynon Taf's Council's decision, Gareth Morgans from the GMB Union said: "After clapping the staff for their role in the pandemic, the council is now slapping them in the face by outsourcing them.   

“GMB will fight tooth and nail to protect and support any members affected by this betrayal of the affected staff. 

“These are predominantly women workers who are going to see their terms and conditions stripped away and most likely be ripped out of the local government pension plan."

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