Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/826/19280
Care UK: 'We'll fight them all the way'
Doncaster Care UK workers in the Unison union, who were last year transferred from the NHS with 35% pay cuts, will start their next 21 days of strike action at 7am on 29 September. Strike committee chair Roger Hutt spoke to the Socialist.
"This strike will take us beyond the longest ever dispute in the health industry in the UK.
I've been in this job all my professional life. Care UK and its owners Bridgepoint are a toxic brand. They perceive the most vulnerable adults to be items to be bought and sold for profit. It's abhorrent.
If the NHS is privatised then the private sector is just going to fill its boots. The ramifications for the public sector and the trade union movement will be catastrophic.
We've already lost our contract, it's gone to Care UK so we're no longer under the auspices of the NHS. We're hoping, long term, they lose the contract and we go back under the umbrella of the NHS.
Another one of my colleagues today handed in her notice. She said: 'I cannot physically work for Care UK and what they represent.'
They're saying we can replace you with people on minimum wage who'll do just as good a job - that's absolute nonsense.
It takes you a lifetime to get to know the people you care for. They're like my extended family.
We haven't accepted our fate. We'll fight them tooth and nail all the way. Care UK have offered 2% to new staff and basically nothing to old NHS staff, just a possible 1% pay rise next year in line with the NHS.
At the meeting I told them: "You're taking £500 a month off me, but you may possibly, possibly, be offering £15 more a month next April. Excuse me for not jumping through hoops and doing cartwheels."
When we first went out on strike we thought we were on our own. But we're not. We're the majority not the minority.
A 93-year old man read my article in the Observer and said it was the most upsetting thing he'd ever read. He sent £25 to our hardship fund.
He said: 'I've never been involved in any trade union dispute, I've never been out on strike, but when I read your article I had to send you some money.'"
Donations: Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster DN4 5GJ (cheques to 'Doncaster, District & Bassetlaw Health Branch')
In The Socialist 24 September 2014:
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