Barnsley Council has been accused of “Scrooge-like” behaviour in the run-up to Christmas over claims it has denied nurses and health visitors an extra day’s holiday awarded to other staff.
Other council employees were told they could have an additional day off as a reward for achieving a gold award from Investors in People, the national accreditation scheme for human resources.
“This is shameful – the council needs to re-think its decision”
But the union Unite said around 30 health visitors and nurses will not benefit from this goodwill gesture unless they surrender terms and conditions agreed when they moved from the NHS.
The health visitors, school nurses and community nurses in question – who are Unite members – became council employees when the 0 -19 children’s public health service transferred to the authority in October.
They moved across under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) regulations, retaining their NHS terms and conditions.
However, the council has made it clear the bonus day off is only for those employed under the council’s own terms and conditions.
“We have been nationally recognised as a good employer”
Unite lead officer for health in Yorkshire Terry Cunliffe accused the council of “treating a section of its workforce as second-class citizens”.
“This is despite the fact our community nurse members have dedicated their entire working lives to supporting the children of Barnsley as well as mums and their families,” he said.
“This is shameful – the council needs to re-think its decision, otherwise it will walk away with the award for the UK’s most Scrooge-like local authority in the run-up to Christmas.”
The union said staff were given the choice of moving to council terms and conditions and keeping their NHS pension, or giving up their NHS pension and keeping NHS terms and conditions.
Some with long-standing NHS pensions had accepted “worse terms and conditions” to keep those pensions going.
The union claimed the situation undermined TUPE legislation and said it was “preparing a legal response”.
Barnsley Council said healthcare professionals who transferred in October were given the choice to remain under NHS terms and conditions or move to the council’s terms and conditions.
Union claims council denied nursing staff day’s holiday
“Those who chose to remain under NHS terms have retained their redundancy entitlements, pay rates and annual leave entitlements,” said Jim Andrews, council cabinet spokesman for public health.
“Some of these terms offer additional benefits and are protected in accordance with TUPE legislation,” he said.
“As part of the 0-19 transfer, a number of health visitors voluntarily requested to move over to the council’s terms; in accordance with these terms, these individuals will receive the additional day’s leave,” said Mr Andrews.
He said the council “valued all of its staff and recognises they provide invaluable services to the public of Barnsley”.
“We have been nationally recognised as a good employer, as evidenced by our recent Investors in People gold accreditation, which all of our staff are very proud of,” he added.