This is a modern day “A Christmas Carol” tale. Christmas this year must be looking pretty bleak for the 1000 carers and their families employed by Family Mosaic Housing Association. Their employer is trying to cut their wages by up to 35% in some cases. According to their own figures 242 carers will lose up to £2000 pa; 58 between £2000 and £4000 and 107 over £4000 pa.
Many of these carers are already relatively poorly paid. They work with the mentally ill and other vulnerable adults doing a demanding job that they love but which most people would run a mile away from doing themselves. A large number are single mums who rely on working weekends and shifts' allowances in order to raise their wages to a decent level to look after their kids.
While it seems that the Senior Management team at Family Mosaic are not going to suffer any cut in their pay: 25 of whom earn over £60,000 pa, while 4 earn over £100,000 a year. Its Chief Executive, Brendan Sarfield, on £172,000 pa is also safe. Family Mosaic made a surplus of £34 million pounds last year.
Yesterday morning in my Councillor’s post I received a glossy magazine (Winter 2011) from Family Mosaic wishing me “A very Happy Christmas and New Year”. There was also a letter from the CEO saying how wonderful his organisation is doing. In the magazine there was no mention whatsoever about the cuts to carers' pay and conditions. Nor that staff are balloting for strike action. With no apparent sense of irony, Mr Sarfield in an editorial criticised others for not facing up to “Challenging” issues!
Is it not too late for the modern day equivalent of Jacob Marley to pay a visit to Mr Sarfield to remind him about the real meaning of Christmas? Or will he continue to say to his staff facing desperate financial straits "I'm alright Jack" and “Bah, Humbug!”.