Hundreds of people, including workers and supporters, attended a “virtual picket line” and strike rally organised by the United Voices of the World union, in support of striking care workers at the Sage care home in north London, on 15 January. The workers struck from 15-17 January, demanding a pay increase to £12/hour, parity of conditions with NHS staff, including equal sick pay, and union recognition.
UVW had planned a physical, safely-distanced picket line, but received last-minute legal advice that changes to the latest lockdown legislation could be interpreted as outlawing picketing and protest.
Strikers addressing the rally emphasised the importance of the demand for equal sick pay as an essential safety and infection control measure, as well as a workers’ right. Workers also spoke to the basic inequality between the ultra-rich owners of the privatised care company which employs them, and the low pay and poor conditions they face. Supporters including Labour MPs John McDonnell and Nadia Whittome also addressed the rally, along with others including a Rolls Royce worker involved in the recent successful strike at the Barnoldswick plant. Speakers pointed out the discrepancy between the “Clap for Carers” ethos, which stresses the social value of care work, and the actual conditions carers face in the workplace.
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