The long-running dispute by care workers at Future Directions in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, has ended in a settlement involving significant concessions from the employer, which their union Unison sees as a victory. Future Directions (FD) is a private company wholly owned by Lancashire-based Calderstones NHS trust.
When FD was awarded the contract by Rochdale council to provide care for seriously disabled adults in the borough, it imposed massive pay cuts on staff of up to 40% plus various other attacks on terms and conditions.
Unison members responded with 29 days strike action over the course of nearly 12 months as they resisted this enormous attack. Now, Rochdale council is putting more money into all services caring for complex needs. At FD, this means members will receive a pay rise from their current levels of pay, which will see them significantly better paid than staff working for other care companies in Rochdale.
Unison is now looking to unionise and re-organise across FD as part of a drive to unionise private sector care staff. And FD management have learned that they have to deal with Unison, or face serious and sustained strike action by workers determined to defend their terms and conditions and the service that they provide.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 31 January 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.