Barnsley Council accused of denying extra holiday to nurses

Barnsley Council has to be criticised over claims it has denied nurses and health visitors an extra day’s holiday, which was awarded to council staff as a reward for achieving a gold award from Investors in People.

Workers’ union Unite has claimed 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 became council employees when the 0 -19 children’s public health service transferred to the authority in October. The staff moved across under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) regulations, retaining their NHS terms and conditions.

However, the local authority has maintained that the bonus day off is only applicable to those employed under the council’s own terms and conditions.

Terry Cunliffe, Unite lead officer for health in Yorkshire, accused the council of ‘treating a section of its workforce as second-class citizens’.

He added: “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.”

Jim Andrews, council cabinet spokesman for public health, said: “Those who chose to remain under NHS terms have retained their redundancy entitlements, pay rates and annual leave entitlements. Some of these terms offer additional benefits and are protected in accordance with TUPE legislation.”

“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.”