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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 April 2013

Thera workers on strike

Gary Freeman, Unison Rep, South Derbyshire Healthcare, personal capacity

After an 82% vote for strike action, Unison members in Thera East Midlands (TEM) will be on a 24-hour strike starting on 18 April. The ballot also gives leeway for further strikes if necessary.

We will be protesting outside Thera's head office, in Thatcher's hometown, Grantham, that day, by coincidence, the day after her funeral.

TEM is one of a number of regional companies led by a national charity, Thera Trust. The employees provide care and support for people with learning disabilities.

Even though TEM does not recognise Unison, and we want to change that, we have an active steward in the workplace.

This strike is a sign of how strong the mood is to fight the introduction of a new contract with its draconian attacks on terms and conditions.

It would mean pay cuts for TUPEd [transferred ex NHS] staff to the 7.59 an hour that Thera contracted support workers receive.

Some of our members face losing over 300 a month. This raises the prospect of future pay cuts for support workers.

Thera wants a workforce at its beck and call, who can be sent to any site in the East Midlands in their own time and at their own expense.

The company's contract will inevitably lead to a loss of its skilled workforce. Members want to defend the quality of care and want proper consultation with the union.

Joe Warner, TEM managing director, resigned recently, further increasing workers' morale.

The company is trying to pressurise managers to find out who is in the union. It is trying to get employees not on the rota to work during the strike and we have heard a rumour that they are asking people from outside Derbyshire to come in.

We have organised well-attended members' meetings and kept in regular and frequent contact with members by newsletters, text, email and by letter.

We have organised two protests in Derby and raised the issue in the local paper and on Radio Derby.

We are working with other Unison branches, officials and members in the East Midlands such as Nottinghamshire County Unison and with Unison members and officials in Thera North (where Unison is recognised) and Thera East Anglia.

A serious lead by Unison's national leadership, coordinating action around all the issues that are affecting our members and our health and other public services, would gain a great response in Unison.

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In The Socialist 17 April 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

NUS conference votes against free education and EMA

Class survey diverts focus away from power of working class to change society

Widespread caste discrimination ignored in the UK

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Doncaster: fighting for a working class mayor on a workers' wage

Maltby pit closure: TUSC councillor speaks out

Ineffectual Ed visits South West

Warrington council rebel builds fight against cuts

Meeting and exhibition marking 30 years since the election of Liverpool's socialist council

Letters to The Socialist

Socialist Party feature

We can beat bedroom tax

Thatcher funeral

Thatcher's funeral costs: Insulting the lives she ruined

Thatcher... and us

Support the paper that beat Thatcher - twice!

Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS cost-cutting is damaging patient care

New phase of campaign against Dewsbury NHS cuts

Welsh NHS cuts - no change of heart from Labour

Socialist Party workplace feature

Time to name the day for a 24-hour general strike

We say to the TUC: Time to fight back

International socialist news and analysis

Brutal Saudi regime supported by UK government

Socialist Party workplace news

Unison health conference: Time to fight back against attacks

Unison elections: Vote for Socialist Party and Reclaim the Union candidates

Thera workers on strike

In Brief


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