GMB Union says directors at Barchester care homes took home fat pay packets and at the same time claimed nearly £27m from the taxpayer-funded Covid relief fund
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Fat cat care bosses paid themselves over £7million – while claiming nearly £27m from the taxpayer-funded Covid relief fund.
The GMB Union says directors at Barchester care homes hiked their own pay as underpaid staff battled through the pandemic.
Analysis of accounts of four of Barchester’s companies show they received Covid grants in 2020 totaling £26,769,000.
Two of them handed a total of £7,385,000 to directors that year.
The two other companies said directors were paid by the Jersey-based parent firm – meaning the true total could be higher.
It comes as Barchester prepares to derecognize the GMB’s 16,000 members, with the union claiming it is yet another “attack on carers’ rights”. Rachel Fagan, GMB lead organiser, said: “The care sector relies on gross injustice to generate bloated profits for shadowy private companies.
“Trousering fortunes in Covid grants then paying fatcats eye-watering salaries is just another example of that. Meanwhile, Barchester’s care workers work their fingers to the bone for just above the minimum wage so residents can be looked after with dignity.
“Now bosses want to take away their route to a decent pay rise by derecognizing their union.
“It’s yet another attack on carers’ rights while ministers look the other way.”
She added: “GMB isn’t going to stand on ceremony, we are campaigning for £15-an-hour social care minimum.”
Figures suggest Barchester’s top-paid director earned 120 times more than the care staff average in 2020.
There are 76 companies registered under the Barchester group. The holding company and ultimate holding company are both registered in Jersey.
A spokeswoman for Bar-chester, which took over some of Four Seasons Healthcare’s homes after it collapsed, said the firm “fundamentally disagrees with some of the policies promoted by the unions, in particular on vaccination”.
She added: “We recently announced an additional £8.1m in remuneration for staff. This will mean an annual net increase of 8.6% or an additional £1,950 gross annual pay for carers and home support staff working 42 hours per week, including a loyalty bonus payment of £700.”
But angry staff said the decision to derecognize the union was a “kick in the teeth” after their grueling Covid efforts.
One worker in the Midlands, who did not want to be named, said: “Carers with years of experience were forced out due to the vaccine and all for nothing.
“After all the sacrifices through Covid this is a kick in the teeth for us carers who have been told we can’t have our union.
“It’s sad these are the people that run business for vulnerable people when they don’t care.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.