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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 February 2014

Doncaster care workers vote for seven-day strike

Angry care workers take to the streets, photo Duncan Brown

Angry care workers take to the streets, photo Duncan Brown   (Click to enlarge)

A Doncaster Unison member

Care UK workers in Doncaster have voted by over 90% for serious action against attacks on pay and conditions.

The Unison members have decided the action they want to take is a seven-day strike, with continuous action short of a strike, including withdrawal of goodwill.

They are now waiting for national authorisation. In the consultative ballot 118 votes were cast and 113 voted to strike. This was out of 167 workers who were balloted.

In September 2013 the tender for Doncaster's learning disability supported-living service was sold to the cheapest bidder, the Tory bedfellows and personal friends of Conservative health ministers everywhere, Care UK.

The learning disability service, previously part of the NHS, was Doncaster's flagship service with integration, individuality and inclusion; enriching the lives of its service users and providing staff with a job they could be proud of and proper training.

Now, service users with complex mental health needs are suffering as staff they have known for years are leaving in their droves out of fear of pay cuts.

In December, Care UK unveiled its plans to make the service more 'financially viable'. This means no enhanced pay for unsociable hours worked - an average of a 500 a month pay cut in real terms. There are other cuts to terms and conditions.

This proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by Unison members and a ballot for strike action was issued, the ballot came back in favour of industrial action.

Care UK then came back with the concessions they were willing to make in order to avoid a strike.

A whopping 1 an hour extra for night shifts and 2 an hour for weekends and bank holidays. In real terms an estimated average pay cut of only 440 a month! No wonder the results of the second ballot are nine-tenths in favour of action.

In the meantime Care UK has attempted to bypass the unions by individually contacting employees and offering to buy them out of their contracts for a one-off taxable payment which will be the financial difference between working for the NHS and working for Care UK.

Employees have been given a deadline of 21 March to accept this offer.

The company has said that unless an agreement is reached between themselves and the unions, on 23 March all employees previously on NHS contracts will be sacked and offered re-employment on Care UK's terms and conditions.

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In The Socialist 19 February 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Floods chaos: End cuts now!

Floods reveal rottenness of government cuts

High rents + low wages - End this housing misery

Scotland: 'Project Fear' goes into overdrive

Affordable childcare? And where are the jobs?

Barclay's bonuses - laughing all the way to the bank

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Bosnia: mass protests show potential of working class

Socialist Party workplace news

Doncaster care workers vote for seven-day strike

Care worker action escalates in Glasgow

Runcorn: Workers' solidarity scores victory

Newham primary school strike over new pay scheme

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Time to strike the bedroom tax a killer blow

Service users "terrified" by cuts in Worcester

Kent: Marching to save children's centres

Anti-cuts councillor exposes devastating cuts plans

Councils pass on Tory pain

Medway council will "rue the day" they attacked library

Fast Food Rights day of action

Stop the deportation of Jermaine Strachen

Socialist Party conferences prepare for year ahead

The Socialist readers' comments

Working nights is bad for your health

Cuts make the job impossible

Cycling deaths must be stopped

'Criminal' waste and 'legal' waste

Campaign against "Lobbying Bill"


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