Social care

High wages? Start with strong unions

The Tories want to present anti-migrant policies and the labour shortages caused by those by policies, by Brexit and by poor wages and conditions in key industries like road haulage and social care as a boon for workers. That was the pitch of Boris Johnson’s speech to Conservative Party conference, promising a “high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy” in place of “the same old broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills, and low productivity, all of it enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration.” The Tories are being aided in this misdirection by the lack of serious...

Care workers strike 20-22 October

Interview with a Sage striker here Care workers at the Sage care home in north London will strike again from 20-22 October, as their fight for living wages and equality with NHS staff continues. The workers are also demanding full contractual sick pay. Bile, one of the striking workers, who also sits on the Executive Committee of the United Voices of the World union (UVW), said: “We built a high profile campaign, supported by care workers around the UK, that led to strike action at the start of the year in the harshest of conditions during a global pandemic lockdown. Yet Sage Nursing trustees...

Why care workers are striking

Julia Veros Gonzalez (below) is a worker at the Sage nursing home in Barnet, North London, where members of United Voices of the World (UVW) have been striking and campaigning over pay, sick pay and holiday parity with NHS workers, and union recognition (see their campaign website here). She spoke to Sacha Ismail. Key workers – care workers, people sweeping the streets, drivers – getting up early in the morning or working at night, doing long shifts – sometimes as care workers we do twelve hours – we don’t mind doing it, we want to help people, we’re doing it the best we can, but we should be...

Care and a shorter working week

The editorial in Solidarity 606 highlights well the need to fight for a bold programme for social care, funded by taxing the rich. There is a further area worth considering in the fight for liberatory and humanistic social care, wider carework, and society. Nancy Fraser, in After the Family Wage: A Postindustrial Thought Experiment, argues persuasively for welfare states geared towards a “universal caregiver” model: “to induce men to become more like most women are now, namely, people who do primary carework... a welfare state[‘s] employment sector would not be divided into two different...

Momentum Internationalists Labour conference briefing

Thanks to Momentum Internationalists for this briefing on Labour Party conference (25-29 September, in Brighton) Who are Momentum Internationalists? Momentum Internationalists was formed by activists from the left anti-Brexit campaign Labour for a Socialist Europe, L4SE, in early 2020 to continue the fight for left-wing and internationalist politics after the Tories finally forced through Brexit. We ran candidates in the Momentum NCG elections of 2020 and promoted motions in the Momentum policy priorities ballot of 2021. We are not just a caucus within Momentum. We have been active on the...

Social care: tax the rich!

Social care needs a transformation comparable to the transformation of UK healthcare seven decades ago through the NHS. It seems likely such a policy, for a public care and support system, would be popular, if strong enough voices argued for it. At the moment the forces campaigning for anything like it are weak, but the issue is centre-stage as never before. When the Tories produced their “plan for social care” — taxing workers more to produce extra money for the NHS and a much smaller amount for care services (later) — the Labour Party embarrassed itself by its lack of alternative ideas. Now...

Tax the rich for social care, pensions, benefits

Care and Support Workers Organise protest in Manchester on their day of action, 4 September TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady is right to respond to the talk of National Insurance increases by arguing that “it’s time to raise taxes on wealth to fund social care properly”. A section of the right is are using phrases like “intergenerational fairness” to justify removing the triple lock which guarantees substantial increases in the basic state pension (by average earnings, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is higher). Others say that social care should be funded by squeezing older people more...

"This is about the kind of world we want to live in"

Ali Treacher is a care worker, Unite the Union activist and workplace rep, and Secretary of the Care and Support Workers Organise! network (CaSWO!) She is also a supporter of Anti-Capitalist Resistance. She spoke to us about care workers' fight. CaSWO! has been meeting throughout the last year, since the start of the pandemic, after a Unison-organised call which brought together care workers around issues like workplace health and safety and PPE. The initial focus was basically offering each other solidarity and advice and sharing information. Government guidelines were so vague that we had to...

Salford Unison pushes care workers' charter

Salford’s local government Unison branch was the first to win the right to full isolation pay for all care workers in their council area, a victory that triggered others in the North West. Now they have put a series of care workers’ demands to candidates in their local elections: 1. The Foundation Living Wage (currently £9.50/hour) for all Salford care workers. 2. Holiday pay based on normal wages. 3. Sleep-in pay at the Foundation Living Wage rate. 4. Occupational sick pay for all Salford care workers. 5. Publicly delivered social care. 6. A strong voice for workers, those in receipt of care...

Sage care workers ballot again

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...

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