UNISON members working for Care UK have started their latest round of strike action, which is expected to last for 14 days.
Strikers are set to hold a rally to mark the beginning of the strike with a rally at the Doncaster Trades Club in the Frenchgate shopping centre from midday today (Monday, May 5).
The 150 members of staff have already taken 20 days of strike action since April over the company’s plans to slash wages by up to 50 per cent - a figure disputed by Care UK.
Commenting on the strike action, UNISON Regional Organiser Jim Bell said: “Our members are making huge sacrifices to protect their jobs and, equally importantly, the vulnerable families caring for people with learning difficulties.”
“Their fight is of vital importance to the very future of social care - not only in Doncaster but throughout this country.”
“But their resolve is strong and Care UK needs to realise that this fight is vitally important, to our members and their families, and equally to the people of Doncaster.”
“The way Care UK is behaving here is ringing alarm bells across the country.”
Managers at Care UK, which supports 140 people with learning disabilities, say they are confident that the contingency plans they have put into practice will ensure that ‘lives will go on as normal for the full duration’ of the strike.
Care UK’s director for learning disability services, Chris Hindle said, “It is disappointing that we’ve been unable to reach agreement with the trade unions, despite full consultation in 13 meetings since November. However the majority of the affected colleagues have now formally accepted the changes, some with the assistance of their trade union representatives. Additionally, during the Easter strike, we noticed that the number of colleagues choosing not to join Unison’s action has increased in comparison to the numbers we saw at the beginning of the dispute.
“These agreements show that many people within the service recognise that reduced funding means that some changes to terms are inevitable if we are to go on supporting the people who use the service, and that the changes Care UK has proposed are a reasonable way of addressing a very difficult situation.