Workers at the Sage care home in north London struck from 20-22 October, as part of their ongoing fight for higher wages and improved conditions. The workers are demanding a pay increase to £12 per hour, as well as parity with NHS staff terms on sick pay and annual leave. They also want paid breaks on night shifts, and unsocial hours pay for weekend and night working.
The strike saw a lively picket at the workplace, as well as a demonstration outside the head offices of Freshwater, the property conglomerate whose owner, Benzion Freshwater, is on Sage’s board of trustees.
Care worker Bile, 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 not only failed to keep their word, but they also continue to preside over a workplace that is short-staffed, mismanaged and where bullying, favouritism, and a blame culture is rife. They have tried every trick in the book to break us, but our resolve is stronger than ever.”
Sage strikers also held a joint demonstration with workers from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), who recently won in-house employment and, following the threat of further strikes, succeeded in securing an immediate uplift to NHS terms and conditions.
GOSH cleaner Gora Diop said: “We’ve been fighting with the help of the UVW to be treated equally in the NHS. We won the fight because we voted yes to go on strike and GOSH gave in to us.”
A UVW statement said: “We are a small member-led union. Our members are mostly low paid, precarious workers, mainly Black and brown and migrants. Many have been drawn to UVW’s grassroots ethos which puts workers at the forefront of collective action and is seen to intersect with anti-racist struggles in the UK and beyond.”