Socialist Worker

Carers reject extra hours or a cut in pay

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2630

Determined Picketing on Monday

Determined Picketing on Monday (Pic: @UnisonSW/Twitter)


Around 80 care workers struck over five days from last Saturday to stop a ­devastating pay cut.

Unison union members at five Sirona care homes in Bath and North East Somerset are fighting new shift patterns.

These remove their half hour paid break and insert an hour-long unpaid break into their shifts.

The predominately women workforce, already low-paid, will work for longer or receive less money.

Unison steward Andy McGuinness spoke to Socialist Worker from a picket line of around 20 workers outside Cleeve Court residential home.

“Care support workers have taken the brunt of it,” he said. “They looked into cutting directors’ pay, but they said if they did they wouldn’t be able to attract directors.”

He said the directors’ wages were “so different to what we’re earning. I just don’t think they understand.”

Dismissal

Bosses issued “dismissal and re-engagement” notices to staff, which means they will be starting worse ­contracts in the next month.

“I’ll be on a new contract from Saturday 24 November,” said Andy. “I work four nights and can’t do an extra night.”

Sirona said it has no choice but to hit workers because the council has cut its funding by £215,000.

But bosses shouldn’t be allowed to evade their responsibility.

After strikes in June and July, more action was postponed after the ­council set up a “scrutiny ­committee”.

But Andy said despite the committee’s efforts to resolve the dispute, its ­recommendations “come to a grinding halt” when it gets to the full council.

“Now the council has got to come up with an answer—ultimately it’s their legal responsibility”, he said.

Workers are ready to keep fighting—they reballoted for more action and returned a vote of 95 percent for more strikes.

The dispute comes as the financial future of care ­provider Allied Healthcare is thrown into doubt.

Over 9,000 elderly and vulnerable people are at risk of losing their home care services if Allied can’t secure long-term funding.

Send messages of support to unison@bathnes.gov.uk

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