Socialist Worker

Why won’t Labour back the Care UK strikers?

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2419

Care UK workers and supporters in London last week

Care UK workers and supporters in London last week (Pic: Julie Sherry)


Care UK strikers in Doncaster are calling on the Labour Party to back their struggle against the Tories’ NHS privatisation.

Labour said it will make defending the NHS a central part of its general election campaign. And Labour leader Ed Miliband is a Doncaster MP.

Unison union rep Roger Hutt told Socialist Worker, “If Miliband is backing this manifesto then surely he must first show his face on our picket line and publicly back us.” 

Strikers received support from a Labour MP on a visit to Newcastle last week. They met with trade unionists who donated to their strike fund.

But Roger said, “It’s a bit of a bugger to have to travel 120 miles to get public support from Labour, when you’ve three Labour MPs on your doorstep who have been conspicuous by their absence.

“Unless Labour changes its indifference to the plight of the working classes it can no longer rely on their vote.”

Care UK workers have entered the second week of a three-week strike for better pay. Most strikers will have seen more than 60 strike days in six months by the end of this week.

Labour-run Doncaster Council awarded Care UK the contract for the supported living service for adults with learning disabilities last autumn.

One worker lost her home after bosses imposed new contracts and pay cuts of up to £7,000 a year while hiring new staff on just £7 an hour. Others face a similar fate.

Yet their determination to keep fighting has convinced some new staff to join the strike.

Unison is demanding a £7.65 an hour living wage for new Care UK staff and a meaningful pay rise for other workers. 

Care UK Striker Theresa Rollinson told Socialist Worker, “We need others to come out with us now. 

“We need the union to hold a day of action for us with protests and strikes. 

“If we could come out together at the same time as NHS and local government workers in October that would be great.”

Send donations, solidarity messages and requests for speakers to: admin@unison-dab.org.uk
Make cheques payable to: Unison Doncaster 20511. Send to: Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster, DN4 5GJ

 


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