Your Choice Barnet and Care UK workers protest on Tuesday (Pic: Guy Smallman)
Striking care workers in Doncaster and London brought their struggles together on Tuesday of this week in their fight against low pay and privatisation.
In north London Your Choice Barnet workers, in the Unison union, struck for two days on Monday and Tuesday against a near 10 percent pay cut.
Unison steward Tom Andrews told Socialist Worker, “The strike is solid. It’s a reflection of our united team who want to express their frustration at this attack on our pay.”
A coachload of Care UK strikers, also in Unison, joined the Barnet strikers’ rally. They are fighting for the Living Wage for new staff and a meaningful rise for the rest.
The Doncaster workers end a three-week strike on Sunday of this week, which is also set to be their 69th strike day this year.
Both groups of workers bear the brunt of outsourcing care services but are determined to fight to maintain quality of service for those they care for. They are also fighting to defend their own conditions.
Barnet Unison branch chair Helen Davies told Socialist Worker, “These are almost identical disputes and workers have taken the logical step of taking action together.”
The Barnet workers could have more strikes to come if bosses don’t back down.
Meanwhile bosses at Care UK met for talks with the union in Doncaster last week. Their derisory offer equated to 14p extra an hour before tax for new staff and nothing for the rest.
It is clear the strikers will need to find ways of escalating the dispute to win. The strikers’ committee said, “There is no way we will accept the crumbs thrown in our direction. We have come too far to back down now.”
Helen said, “Barnet and Doncaster care workers are offering a lead to everyone who wants to fight back. If this happened nationally and across different unions we could see the back of low pay.”
Care UK strikers voted last week ahead of talks with bosses for a further 21-day walkout, the dates of which were still to be announced as Socialist Worker went to press.
Workers at Your Choice Barnet also voted for an extra four days of action before striking this week. Both need solidarity from the trade union movement to win their fights.
Barnet: Send messages of support and requests for speakers firstname.lastname@example.org Send donations to the strike fund to Barnet Unison Industrial Action Fund, Building 4, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
Doncaster: Send donations, solidarity messages and requests for strikers to speak at meetings to email@example.com Make cheques payable to Unison Doncaster 20511. Send to Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster, DN4 5GJ