WORKERS for a care provider claim they are trapped in a payday nightmare due to their employer’s “horror show” payroll system.

Staff at residential care provider Living Ambitions say they are experiencing a raft of different pay issues - all leaving them short changed.

One woman was even forced to turn to a foodbank for support as she had been repeatedly shorted on her wages.

Another went without pay for three months, it was alleged.

Senior staff are forced to give workers loans out of their own pocket to help tide them over.

And care workers are owed nearly 18 months of backpay as the company only introduced the Living Wage last month - instead of last April when it was introduced.

Staff spoke to the Evening Times on condition of anonymity as they claim there can be retaliation from bosses if they speak out.

We called Living Ambitions's Glasgow-based headquarters for comment but our calls were not returned.

Earlier this year workers held a demonstration outside Glasgow City Chambers to draw attention to the problems.

But so far the issues, which they say include administrative failures and statutory breaches concerning their pay and pay information, have not been resolved.

Living Ambitions staff work with vulnerable adults who have physical or learning disabilities and mental health problems.

They carry out personal care tasks, give medicines, take clients on holiday or to social activities and also sleep over at supported living accommodation to provide 24 hour care.

GMB Scotland is representing a group of staff who they surveyed to find out the extent of problems.

Representative John Slaven said: “Every month our members are facing a pay day nightmare because their employer is burying its head in the sand over this horror show payroll system.

“The survey findings have exposed a litany of failures in the administration at Living Ambitions which are at best incompetent and at worst unlawful – it’s no way to treat dedicated carers who do so much for some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Headlines from the survey revealed that:

•96 per cent of members said their employer had failed to provide them with a payslip;

•60 per cent said they received loans from their employer to plug wage underpayments; and

•100 per cent said they had been underpaid for their work during their employment.

It was also found that staff, who have repeatedly raised their concerns about the pay issues without response, are struggling to make ends on meet against the cost of living.

One worker said: "There are problems every single month.

"We don't always get our payslips on time depending on the day our payday falls so you can't always tell how much you're out of pocket.

"You get three days to resolve the issue but we now have no direct access to payroll... so by the time someone phones you back you've missed the deadline.

"We have now lost several long standing staff members because they could not go on like this.

"How can I staff for so long with a company that treats me this way?

"That's a question I ask myself regularly and it's not a question I can give an answer to."

Another staff member said: "The job is very rewarding and I enjoy working with my clients.

"But what the management don't seem to realise is that we work with people with mental health problems yet their treatment of their staff is giving us mental health problems.

"And no one is looking after us."

Mr Slaven added: “Let’s also be clear this is another example of vital local services being run off the back of predominantly low-paid women on precarious contracts of employment, yet another case in point of the rampant sex discrimination in Scotland’s social care sector.

“We are urging Living Ambitions to take their employees concerns seriously and to work with us to tackle these obvious and deep-rooted problems – but it’s clear we are scratching the surface of a major failure in the treatment of care workers in this employer.”

Living Ambitions provides services linked to Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership said: "We undertook an unplanned service review, following notification of staff grievances in February, where the service provider was able to assure us that all payments were now being made to staff timeously and all complied with the Scottish Living Wage.

"We have not been made aware of any further problems in relation to this matter."

There was no response from Living Ambitions to calls made by the Evening Times.