A guest writer for Freedom takes a look at the current Care UK strike and asks the question: why is it important, and what can anarchists do to help?
Care UK workers in Doncaster, having already been on strike for 48 days, have just begun another three weeks’ worth of strike action, from 7am at Monday 25th August to Monday 15th September. A dispute of this length and intensity is almost unheard of in the context of present-day UK trade unionism, and so it’s worth taking a closer look at what’s going on, and what we can do to help
Services for people with learning disabilities in Doncaster, previously provided by the NHS, were flogged off to private provider Care UK earlier this year. As part of this process, care workers were told to accept a 35% pay cut, and new workers were brought in on £7 an hour. They responded by striking, demanding that the wages of the lowest-paid staff be brought up to a living wage of £7.65, and that more experienced staff should also be given a basic wage rise to keep them in line with NHS conditions. Care UK bosses have been unwilling to give ground, and so the workers have made a determined stand: they first voted to strike in February, and they’re still fighting on today after having lost nearly 50 days’ pay so far, in one of the longest-running strikes in the history of the healthcare sector. Continue reading