The Socialist 19 March 2014 |
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Doncaster care workers determined to win
Steve Williams, Steward in Doncaster, District and Bassetlaw Unison
On Wednesday 19 March, Care UK workers in Doncaster began their second seven-day strike. This comes just two weeks after the end of the first strike and demonstrates the determination of the staff to win.
In September 2013 Doncaster's Labour council sold the tender for the town's learning disability supported living to the cheapest bidder, Care UK.
Care UK is owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital. The chair of which is, former Marks and Spencer chief executive Sir Stuart Rose.
Rose has recently been appointed as an adviser to the NHS; a further illustration of the links between the Tory's privatisation agenda and their friends in big business.
In December 2013 Care UK effectively threw the TUPE transfer agreements out of the window with the declaration that new terms and conditions were to be introduced.
These included the scrapping of enhanced pay for working unsocial hours; which would lead to a pay cut of, on average, £500 a month.
Unison members overwhelmingly rejected this proposal and balloted for strike action. The first strike was held between 27 February and 5 March. On its conclusion the staff voted for this, second week of action.
The strikers have received widespread support locally. The demonstration held outside of the council's Mansion House on 1 March was greeted enthusiastically by the public.
There is a recognition here that Care UK staff are fighting not just for their terms and conditions but against privatisation of the NHS and against the suffering that this will cause.