Social care

Victory at Sage care home

Strikes by care workers at the Sage care home in north London have won significant pay increases. From 1 December, care workers, domestic, and maintenance staff will receive a pay increase to £10.85 an hour. This represents a minimum pay increase of 11%. All other staff will receive a pay rise of 5%. The dispute at the care home began in March 2020, and has seen workers, who are members of the United Voices of the World union (UVW) strike several times, most recently in October 2021. Trustees of the care home include property magnate Benzion Freshwater, who has a net worth of over £2 billion...

Sage workers boosted by GOSH win

Workers at the Sage care home in north London struck from 20-22 October, as part of their ongoing fight for higher wages and improved conditions. The workers are demanding a pay increase to £12 per hour, as well as parity with NHS staff terms on sick pay and annual leave. They also want paid breaks on night shifts, and unsocial hours pay for weekend and night working. The strike saw a lively picket at the workplace, as well as a demonstration outside the head offices of Freshwater, the property conglomerate whose owner, Benzion Freshwater, is on Sage’s board of trustees. Care worker Bile, who...

Sage care workers to strike 20-21 October

Workers at the Sage nursing home in North London, members of United Voices of the World (UVW), struck in January and February over pay, sick pay, leave, union recognition and other issues. They will strike again on 20-21 October, with the main part of the strike on 21 October. Sage worker Julia Veros Gonzalez told us: “We’re striking again because we are tired of being ignored by the Sage management and trustees. Rather than doing anything for us, they have actually increased the pressure. The last months have seen a shortage of staff, making us do double the work, risking our health and the...

High wages? Start with strong unions

The Tories want to present anti-migrant policies and the labour shortages caused by those by policies, by Brexit and by poor wages and conditions in key industries like road haulage and social care as a boon for workers. That was the pitch of Boris Johnson’s speech to Conservative Party conference, promising a “high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy” in place of “the same old broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills, and low productivity, all of it enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration.” The Tories are being aided in this misdirection by the lack of serious...

Care workers strike 20-22 October

Interview with a Sage striker here Care workers at the Sage care home in north London will strike again from 20-22 October, as their fight for living wages and equality with NHS staff continues. The workers are also demanding full contractual sick pay. Bile, one of the striking workers, who also sits on the Executive Committee of the United Voices of the World union (UVW), said: “We built a high profile campaign, supported by care workers around the UK, that led to strike action at the start of the year in the harshest of conditions during a global pandemic lockdown. Yet Sage Nursing trustees...

Why care workers are striking

Julia Veros Gonzalez (below) is a worker at the Sage nursing home in Barnet, North London, where members of United Voices of the World (UVW) have been striking and campaigning over pay, sick pay and holiday parity with NHS workers, and union recognition (see their campaign website here). She spoke to Sacha Ismail. Key workers – care workers, people sweeping the streets, drivers – getting up early in the morning or working at night, doing long shifts – sometimes as care workers we do twelve hours – we don’t mind doing it, we want to help people, we’re doing it the best we can, but we should be...

Care and a shorter working week

The editorial in Solidarity 606 highlights well the need to fight for a bold programme for social care, funded by taxing the rich. There is a further area worth considering in the fight for liberatory and humanistic social care, wider carework, and society. Nancy Fraser, in After the Family Wage: A Postindustrial Thought Experiment, argues persuasively for welfare states geared towards a “universal caregiver” model: “to induce men to become more like most women are now, namely, people who do primary carework... a welfare state[‘s] employment sector would not be divided into two different...

Momentum Internationalists Labour conference briefing

Thanks to Momentum Internationalists for this briefing on Labour Party conference (25-29 September, in Brighton) Who are Momentum Internationalists? Momentum Internationalists was formed by activists from the left anti-Brexit campaign Labour for a Socialist Europe, L4SE, in early 2020 to continue the fight for left-wing and internationalist politics after the Tories finally forced through Brexit. We ran candidates in the Momentum NCG elections of 2020 and promoted motions in the Momentum policy priorities ballot of 2021. We are not just a caucus within Momentum. We have been active on the...

Social care: tax the rich!

Social care needs a transformation comparable to the transformation of UK healthcare seven decades ago through the NHS. It seems likely such a policy, for a public care and support system, would be popular, if strong enough voices argued for it. At the moment the forces campaigning for anything like it are weak, but the issue is centre-stage as never before. When the Tories produced their “plan for social care” — taxing workers more to produce extra money for the NHS and a much smaller amount for care services (later) — the Labour Party embarrassed itself by its lack of alternative ideas. Now...

Tax the rich for social care, pensions, benefits

Care and Support Workers Organise protest in Manchester on their day of action, 4 September TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady is right to respond to the talk of National Insurance increases by arguing that “it’s time to raise taxes on wealth to fund social care properly”. A section of the right is are using phrases like “intergenerational fairness” to justify removing the triple lock which guarantees substantial increases in the basic state pension (by average earnings, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is higher). Others say that social care should be funded by squeezing older people more...

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