UVW

Care workers challenge anti-union harassment

United Voices of the World (UVW) members at the Sage care home in north London are pursuing two legal claims against their employer. The workers previously struck in January and February to win living wages and parity with NHS workers’ terms and conditions on sick pay and annual leave entitlements. A UVW statement said: “The first claim is a group claim concerning a letter sent by the home’s trustees during a ballot for industrial action in October 2020... A second individual claim for victimisation is also being brought by a former employee of the home.” Bella Ruiz, a former care assistant...

School cleaners to strike for 40 days

Cleaners in the United Voices of the World union at La Retraite Catholic girls’ school in south west London will strike for 40 days from 16 March, in what the union describes as “the longest school cleaners’ strike in history”. The cleaners, who are employed by outsourced contractor Ecocleen, have faced cuts to their hours, as well as being low-paid, and denied contractual sick pay. Several cleaners have also recently been docked wages, after they exercised their right to refuse unsafe work under Section 44 of the 1996 Employment Rights Act. The union estimates that 25% of cleaners at the...

School cleaners docked pay

The United Voices of the World union is asking supporters to email the headteacher of La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School in south west London, and the boss of the company to which it outsources cleaning, to protest at the withdrawal of pay from 13 cleaners at the school. The cleaners exercised their rights under Section 44 of the 1996 Employment Rights Act to refuse unsafe work. UVW says that after weeks of pressure, cleaners resumed work on 8 February. Ecocleen, the outsourced cleaning contractor, had agreed to implement “improved supply of PPE and hand gel, staggered start and finish...

Care workers demand parity with NHS

Workers at the Sage care home in north London struck again from 4-8 February, following an initial strike on 15-17 January, as they seek to win wages of £12/hour, and parity with NHS staff on conditions such as sick pay and annual leave allowance. Safely distanced picket lines were held outside their workplace. In a video published on the United Voices of the World union’s Twitter feed, striking worker Bile said: “We are once again on strike, for a living wage, better sick pay, better annual leave, better overtime when we are at work, for a better life. We are tired of working long, long hours...

Care workers out again 4-8 February

Care workers at the Sage care home in North London will strike again on 4-8 February. The workers are demanding pay increases to £12/hour, and parity with NHS workers on terms and conditions such as sick pay and annual leave. The workers are also demanding recognition of their union, United Voices of the World (UVW). A previous strike from 15-17 January saw hundreds attend a virtual strike rally on the first day of the strike, with safely-distanced picket lines being held on 16 and 17 January. UVW members at La Retraite Catholic school in south London are also balloting for strikes, demanding...

Picketing still lawful

Prior to the first day of the Sage care workers’ strike on 15 January, legal advice obtained by the United Voices of the World union suggested that picketing may be unlawful under the new lockdown. After a physical picket line planned for the first day of the strike was called off, picket lines on subsequent strike days happened without obstruction. British Gas workers have also been picketing during their ongoing strikes. Further legal advice has clarified that picketing remains lawful, and the confusion stemmed from the Crown Prosecution Service including misleading and out-of-date...

Care strikers out again 4-8 February

Care workers at the Sage care home in North London struck from 15-17 January, demanding wages of at least £12/hour, parity of conditions, including sick pay, with NHS staff, and recognition of their union, United Voices of the World (UVW). They will strike again 4-8 February. Legal advice obtained by UVW, which suggested the exemption previously afforded to protests and picket under lockdown restrictions may have been withdrawn, scuppered plans for a safely-distanced physical picket line on the first day of the strike. A well-attended virtual strike rally took place instead, at which numerous...

Care workers strike 15-17 January

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...

To beat the pandemic, beat poverty: good sick pay for all!

There is growing noise in the labour movement and more widely around the issue of sick pay. We urgently need a bigger campaign on this issue. Despite right-wing agitation about people flouting lockdown regulations, the evidence suggests something like 90% general compliance (British Medical Journal). But much lower numbers of those infected or in contact with the infected are self-isolating fully: more like 20%. Unlike hand-washing and social distancing, self-isolation often requires material resources and support, particularly sufficient space and an income. Data from the first lockdown...

Cleaners at Great Ormond St win in-house status

Hundreds of cleaners outsourced to the multinational contractor OCS at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London will be made NHS employees on 1 August 2021 following a campaign by the workers and their trade union United Voices of the World. UVW had warned hospital bosses that it would move to a ballot for industrial action and a legal case for institutionalised racism (the cleaners are mostly ethnic-minority). UVW won a previous victory in April 2020, when Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust gave their 1,200 outsourced staff NHS contracts. The union reports that "the cleaners –...

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