Workers at the Sage care home in north London are gearing up for a new industrial action ballot, as they continue their fight to win living wages, full sick pay, and parity with NHS terms and conditions.
The care workers, who are members of the United Voices of the World union (UVW) previously struck in January and February. Workers in the privatised care sectors, many of whom are migrants, are typically low-paid, without access to contractual sick pay, and with a much worse annual leave entitlement than healthcare workers employed by the NHS. UVW has added its voice to calls for a free, publicly-owned “National Care Service”. In a statement, 'UVW supports the creation of a national care service', the union said:
“The fight for respect, equality, and dignity by our members at Sage Nursing Home has shone a light on a care system in crisis. Underfunded and undervalued, the heroic workers in this sector, and the elderly and vulnerable people who rely upon its services, are being failed.
“Privatisation, outsourcing, and the slashing of Local Authority budgets has resulted in a race to the bottom, both in terms of pay and conditions, and in access to quality, affordable care for an ageing and vulnerable population.
“The evidence is irrefutable and available for all to read, independent peer-reviewed studies and testimonies from health care professionals confirm that the quality of adult social care has declined drastically over the past two decades, largely as a result of privatisation...
"We believe it is clear that the only answer to the current crisis is to create of a publicly funded, publicly owned, and free at the point of use, National Care Service. Something UVW, along with our allies in the labour movement, will fight for in the coming months and years ahead."