Sussex Ambulance provider to cut pay for workers

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GMB, the union for ambulance workers, has been informed that Sussex Patient Transport provider, Docklands Medical Services, will no longer honour NHS contracts despite publicly stating that staff were protected under Transfer of Undertakings Regulations (TUPE) following the collapse of the previous provider.

Staff working at the company are to be dismissed with view to being offered a new contract with lower pay and a vastly inferior terms. Staff were originally transferred from South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) to provider VM Langfords following a successful bid from subcontractor Coperforma.

Chief Executive Michael Clayton has publicly stated his commitment to funding all outstanding pension and holiday liabilities and paying all outstanding wages in both a staff meeting and at the East Sussex County Council’s overview and scrutiny committee in June (Thursday, 30th June 2016).

GMB understands that both Coperforma and Docklands Medical services now plan to renege on their promises and break their given assurance to Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). GMB has also been informed that Coperforma faces potential disputes and possible legal proceedings from a number of its contractors over unpaid and disputed invoices for work carried out, which could be as high £400,000.

Gary Palmer, GMB regional organiser, said “Once again Coperforma’s failings are back under the microscope. As the sole recognised union for staff at Docklands, GMB will not stand by and watch as an employer breaks promises to a workforce that has already seen more than its fair share of strife.

GMB has had written assurances and viewed public broadcasts in which Coperforma CEO Michael Clayton has clearly stated that Docklands Medical Services would not only pick up the patient transport obligations after the collapse of VM Langfords, but that staff would be looked after and not be left out of pocket and their terms and conditions would be protected.

From the very start when this contract was awarded to Coperforma despite the many missed warning signs, their delivery, accountability and responsibility has been seen to fail in all measures by everyone except the CCGs responsible. This outright failure to keep promises must not be.

I hope now that the CCGs will finally see that Coperforma have outstayed their welcome. Docklands Medical Services must not be allowed to dismiss loyal staff and take them back on lesser contracts and Coperforma must pay outstanding monies owed from the VM Langfords’ collapse immediately.

No more chances, no more waiting until the dust hopefully settles, the time has come to remove Coperfoma and all those that would put profit before patients and staff.”