Care UK strikers to hold rally

Demonstration outside Care UK, Doncaster. ( Buy this photo D2067TS) Picture: Tony Saxton
Demonstration outside Care UK, Doncaster. ( Buy this photo D2067TS) Picture: Tony Saxton
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Striking care workers in Doncaster will hold a rally and demonstration in support of their action against massive pay cuts threatened by private company Care UK.

More than 100 Unison members have held two seven day strikes over the company’s plan to slash wages by up to £7,000 a year – in some cases a 50 per cent pay cut – which would see many of them losing their homes.

A rally will be held at Doncaster Catholic Club, Chequer Road, from noon on Tuesday, March 25, where speakers from the Unison Doncaster Health Branch, the regional office and Unison’s national leadership will address strikers, care users and their families.

There will also be an earlier demonstration outside the Mansion House in Doncaster tomorrow, Saturday March 22, at noon where Unison will seek the continued support of the people of Doncaster for their action. They will urge Doncaster Council, which commissions the Care UK contract, to step in and protect the service from the attack.

Unison regional manager Tony Pearson said there has been no attempt by Care UK to change its policy.

He said: “The company has said it will compensate members who are losing a large part of their pay for 14 months, but that will leave them in exactly the same position, unable to afford to live and at risk of losing their homes.

“We have had enormous support from the people of Doncaster because they know that our members are skilled, dedicated and totally committed to caring for these vulnerable people and their families.

“It is heartbreaking to hear of the distress and sadness of these care users that their beloved carers are facing such a vicious attack on their livelihoods that they will be forced to look for jobs elsewhere.

“But is has been very heartening to see how they have supported our members throughout this strike. They deeply value their care workers and cannot believe Care UK would try to make fat profits by plunging carers into poverty and deprive care users and their families of a vital service.”

Tony said members would also meet outside the Care UK offices in Doncaster on Monday March 24 at 9am to tear up the contracts sent to them by Care UK, demonstrating their complete rejection of Care UK’s savage cuts.

Care UK had previously stated that the suggestion that any individual might see a 50 per cent reduction in their salary is wholly inaccurate, adding that the basic pay of all employees within the service is being fully protected and all colleagues who transferred to Care UK will continue to be members of the valuable NHS final salary pension scheme.

A spokesman said: “No employee who transferred into the service has been made redundant. Under the proposals, which Unison has rejected, Care UK is proposing to review the rates and opportunities for things like working evenings or weekends, bringing sick pay and paid annual holiday which, for some people, is currently close to seven weeks on top of public holidays, into line with what is more normal for this sector.”

Adding: “Care UK has also offered to extend the transition payment which is equal to full salary protection from 12 months to 14 months to help employees adjust to the new arrangements but this offer was rejected out of hand by Unison negotiators.”