Socialist Worker

Resist attempts to try and break care staff

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2426

Care UK and St Mungo’s strikers meet up last week

Care UK and St Mungo’s strikers meet up last week (Pic: Alan Kenny)

Strikers at Care UK in Doncaster ended a three-week strike last Sunday. The care workers have now struck for 90 days in eight months.

They met with Labour leader and Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband on Friday of last week.

Workers have fought the private health firm Care UK since February.

It was handed the supported living service for adults with learning disabilities by Labour-run Doncaster Council.

Workers have seen attacks on their terms and conditions, pay cuts of 35-40 percent and the introduction of a two-tier workforce. In a statement to Miliband the strikers expressed their frustration that a party many of them have supported has done little to support them.

They said, “We need your help. In this dispute private support is meaningless. 

It’s time to get off the fence, we want you to publicly state your support for our action.” 


The strikers have now ended their second 12-week ballot period. 

Anti-union laws take legal protections away from workers and give bosses grounds for dismissal after 12 weeks. 

The threat that employers could sack workers for striking past 12 weeks without reballoting is a real threat, but that is all it is. 

Care UK is a high profile dispute across the trade union movement that has received huge solidarity.

Instead of stringing out the dispute the Unison union leadership should challenge the anti-union laws and take on a company leading the charge to privatise the NHS. 

Care UK was exposed again last week in Suffolk over standards at one of its care homes, the second in a month. 

But the Labour Party has no intention of ending the market in health care. 

After over a decade of a Labour government nothing was done to repeal the anti-union laws. It’s high time union leaders stood up to them.

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Tue 21 Oct 2014, 16:43 BST
Issue No. 2426
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