Sunday, October 26, 2014

Labour won't support labour

Carers for disabled people, who have been involved in one of the longest strikes in the history of the health service, accused Ed Milibandof failure to offer public support for their cause. The carers, who have been on strike for 90 days, told the Labour leader of their deep disappointment with what they say is his failure to help his constituents in Doncaster.

Sixty carers are striking in support of a living wage for staff within the privatised care service, now run by the private equity-owned Care UK.

A letter handed to him from the strikers read: “Mr Miliband, it’s not easy to sit here and say this: we have had private, but no public, support from you or any of the local Labour MPs. The local Labour party and councillors have been worse. We have not had one word of support or visit to our picket line from any of the local Labour party. We cannot tell you how disappointing this has been for us. Most of us have been Labour voters all our lives, a good proportion of us are your constituents … It’s time to get off the fence. We want you to publicly state your support for our action.” The strikers’ letter added: “You say you support a strong NHS. You say you recognise there is a cost-of-living crisis. You have backed demands for a living wage. We are at the sharp end of this government’s creeping privatisation of the NHS. We need your help"

Care UK, whose majority shareholder is a private equity firm, Bridgepoint Capital, took over services for people with severe learning disabilities in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, from the NHS this year, cutting wages of staff who had been on NHS terms by up to 35%, while bringing in 100 new workers on £7 an hour. The strikers, most of whom were transferred from the NHS to Care UK, are demanding a living wage of £7.65 an hour for their poorest-paid colleagues. They are also asking for a wage rise for better-paid, experienced staff, who they say have been left in dire straits by Care UK’s decision to cut hourly rates for working weekends, bank holidays and nights. The strikers plan to continue their action unless Care UK meets Unison officials and comes to a satisfactory settlement.

A spokesperson for Ed Miliband said “ He believes the best solution … is for both sides to sit down and seek to find a way forward.”

 A year-long inquiry into the state of social care by John Kennedy, director of care homes for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation notes that 78% of frontline care staff earn an average of £6.45 an hour, adds: “The care home sector employs hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers, mainly women. Care workers are the lowest-paid, lowest-status workforce in the economy.”

Let the Labour Party rot!

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

An article from the Freedom News anarchist website