Cleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 16th March 2023 Issue no. 1056
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Key workers at North London care home strike
Cleaners and care workers at Sage nursing home in North London, who for some months have been calling for better wages, as well as parity with NHS sick pay and annual leave, may be about to down tools.
The workers had previously returned a 100% 'yes' vote in favour of strike action but had suspended their strike plans in the hope that ACAS-mediated negotiations, due to begin on 4th December, could resolve the situation.
They say the negotiations were undermined after Trustees - with, allegedly, less than 24-hours' notice, refused several elected United Voices of the World union representatives the right to attend talks. The situation was also inflamed when trustees told the workers that it was not financially possible to pay them £12 per hour (they currently receive between £8.72 - £9.60 per hour) while a £354 per hour union-busting legal consultant was present in the room.
Throughout the dispute, and despite UVW filing an application with the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to force Sage to recognise the workers' union of choice for the purposes of collective bargaining, Sage's Trustees have, allegedly, continued to refuse to recognise the UVW.
"It's an act of defiance and irresponsibility from Sage to avoid meeting us for negotiations," says one worker, called Bile. "We are incredibly frustrated, because all we are asking for is respect, dignity and equality. We deserve a living wage; we deserve full sick pay and a better holiday scheme. And if Sage thinks it can just ignore us and that we'll go away, all they're really doing is boosting our motivation to stand up for our rights and for the right of our union to be recognised. We have never been more united."
3rd December 2020