UNION bosses claim dozens of home carers in the Borders are losing out under a new work pattern pilot scheme.

And they have issued an avoidance of dispute notice to have the scheme scrapped.

SB Cares is currently trialling an eight-week rota system for its hundreds of homecare staff.

But concerns have already been raised about many of them having their hours cut under the new system.

And union chiefs also claim the changes are being pushed through without proper consultation.

UNISON is now calling on SB Cares bosses to scrap the current pilot.

Campbell Hogarth from UNISON told us: “SB Cares agreed at the start of the pilot last year they would monitor, collect and share the data captured with us.

“It took more than nine months for UNISON to get any data from SB Cares and even then we have evidence from our members that the data is inaccurate.

“We are not convinced that we can rely on information being provided by SB Cares."

Around 800 members of staff transferred from Scottish Borders Council to SB Cares two years ago with the creation of the new limited liability partnership.

But many of them are now being affected by the changes to work patterns.

The union claims that during the homecare pilot there is continuing to be a failure to provide staff with contracted hours.

UNISON has now asked SB Cares to guarantee that each worker's contract is honoured.

Regional organiser Janet Stewart said: “It is clear that the pilot has not worked and staff are suffering because of this.

“UNISON is currently awaiting a formal response from SB Cares after submitting an avoidance of dispute notice.

"The avoidance of dispute notice was put in after it came to our attention that staff are not being given their contracted hours and being put in to deficit. In some cases members have over 100 hours of deficit.

“UNISON will not agree with the full implementation of the eight week rota until we are confident that it will deliver a healthy work life balance, guaranteed payment for a shift for all homecare workers, and fundamentally that the pilot has worked."

SB Cares believe the new rotas will provide a better service for the elderly and vulnerable who rely on home visits.

A spokesperson explained: “SB Cares is committed to providing a high quality care at home service that meets the needs of both our clients and the staff teams who deliver homecare on our behalf across the Borders.

“The new rotas are being put in place to ensure seven day cover for this essential home care service and an improved work/life balance for our staff.”