Saturday, June 09, 2007

Fremantle care workers campaign continues

Fremantle care workers ballot for industrial action began on Friday 8 June 2007. They had previously been balloted in March 2007 but the strike was postponed due to Fremantle issuing a legal action literally days before the start of the action. It really is time this Labour government repealed the anti-trade union legislation!

Anyway back to Fremantle. Because of the postponement care workers have had their pay cut in some cases up to 25%. It is bad enough having to deal with increases in food, fuel bills, rent, petrol, council tax, rent, mortgages without having to absorb such cuts in pay.

The other evening a friend of mine was talking to me about residential and nursing care. He was having to find somewhere for both his parents. He has not had any dealings with social care before and was horrified by the standards of care on offer. 98% of social care is now provided by the private and voluntary sector. Taking it out of public control and democratic accountability was supposed to deliver improvements and costs!

Poppycock! put it mildly. If you asked social workers whether they would place a relative in a residential/nursing home over 90% of them would say no. Care standards were supposed to be more vigorous. This was the ‘sop’ to those of us who opposed sell off of social care. But the inspections are ‘toothless’ and have very little power.

In terms of training for staff. The market has led to an exploitation of migrant workers in social care. Everyone knows private agencies have banks of staff who will be working under assumed names for other agencies. Looking at the poverty wages they pay it is not surprising that these staff work incredible long hours. BUT is it good for service users and carers?


So, back to Fremantle. We are running this campaign because it is time to make a stand. It is imperative that we reverse the decision made on 1 April 2007. Fremantle care workers have been pushed into poverty all because of poor financial management. That’s right. We never invited Fremantle to Barnet they came of their own free will. Probably the prospect of getting their hands on 11 properties in prime locations in leafy Barnet helped matters.

So they got the maths wrong… why steal the money out of the mouths of their loyal well trained care staff? Claiming they need more money is nothing new to Fremantle they were at it in Milton Keynes in 2003. So as in Milton Keynes why not hand the contract back Fremantle?

Our branch fully intends to support this campaign, we have the support of both London UNISON region and the General Secretary Dave Prentis. We will be calling on our UNISON colleagues in ALL the service groups. Furthermore we will take our case back to Parliament. Our Fremantle Stewards committee will be send out letters to all Labour leadership candidates on Tuesday 12 June 2007.

Our ballot closes 2. Friday 22nd June with the first day of action possibly starting Thursday 5th July

Finally little things make a difference. If you are able to access email please send messages of support to the Fremantle care workers to
Branch Secretary of Barnet UNISON

1 comment:

Jon Rogers said...

Good luck with the ballot comrades!