Strike action at Sirona-run residential homes and Extra Care facilities in Bath and North East Somerset has been cancelled pending a potential discussion at a future B&NES Health and Wellbeing meeting.
The trade union Unison has been in dispute with Sirona around moving staff working at the homes in Bath, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton from paid to unpaid breaks, when they work more than six hours.
Sirona says this is consistent with other providers in the sector and with other staff within the organisation.
A request was made by a councillor at the full B&NES Council meeting last Thursday, 12th July, for the ongoing issue to be taken for further scrutiny.
The not-for-profit social enterprise had been covering a planned series of 25 consecutive walk-outs in an escalation of the action which began in June; including a series of middle-of-the-night strikes taking place between 1am and 5am as well as 24 hour and 12 hour disruption.
Janet Rowse, Sirona’s Chief Executive, said: “We were pleased that following the Council meeting, Unison offered to cancel all industrial action until the scrutiny process reports and as a result, we have also agreed to pause the implementation of the change to unpaid breaks while this takes place.
“However, we have also been clear that should the proposed Council’s scrutiny process not resolve the matter than we would need to re-instigate the implementation of the change and will discuss this with Unison.
“We are keen to bring this difficult situation to a close and are pleased that conversations continue between ourselves and staff representatives.”
UNISON South West regional organiser John Drake said: “Coming to this agreement after the council’s decision makes sense.
“Care workers can now focus on delivering compassionate care for some of the most vulnerable members of society.
“This decision doesn’t mean the issue is resolved, but it’s an opportunity to reflect on the issue and seek alternative solutions.”
B&NES Council’s Health & Wellbeing scrutiny panel is expected to meet at the end of September.