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strike picture

 

How we got to this situation:

Councils have been forced to impose steep cuts on adult social care because the money they receive from Central Government has fallen substantially. Unlike other services, the social care budget is not ring-fenced. It is in this context that Birmingham City Council plan to make 40% of our home care enablement staff redundant.

They also plan to introduce an unacceptable work pattern with staff being expected to work 3 split shifts in a day. Workers will be expected to work 7-10am 12-2pm and then 4-10pm. The reality is many won’t be able to get home between shifts or if they can won’t be there for long before having to be at their next call so won’t get a break at all. These shift patterns will make people ill and staff fear that they won’t be able to properly function which could lead to mistakes being made in the care of older vulnerable people.

We believe that all workers should be entitled to a reasonable work life balance and everyone receiving social care should have that care provided by someone that has the time and energy to do a professional job.
We have been trying to get the council to withdraw the proposed rotas and work with us and the staff to draw up a more acceptable work pattern.

Our members love their work and want to provide the best care they can for our most vulnerable citizens. But staff know that if they are forced to work the new rotas they will be left exhausted and will have no time to recharge their batteries, it will make the job that they do so well so much harder. Striking is always a last straw for care workers but they are fighting for the future of their service

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Update: The first dates for striking for Home Care workers has been set. The Council has been informed of action which will take place on Saturday 20th January and Tuesday 6th February. A rally is being planned for 20th January which will have the Banner Theatre group taking part , with singing and music and a stage. More details on the rally will be forthcoming.

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 A new Council dispute has led to a vote for strike action. The strength of feeling about the  proposed working rotas and redudancies for Home Care workers has been made know , with an overwhelming majority voting for strike action.

Birmingham branch's Secretary Caroline Johnson wrote on December 19th. 

"I am writing to share the details of the ballot result for the home care enablement assistants dispute.

We had a 53.9% turnout and a 99% vote for action."

The dispute itself is around the working patterns which would see Home Care workers working long shifts with little time for any non work life balance."This would force many carers to work three split shifts in a working day.”,Caroline Johnson said."With too little time to return home between shifts, it is claimed they could be out from home for 15 hours a day."

“Our Home carers are dedicated to their jobs and the vulnerable clients they work with. They work on 365 days a year, in all weathers and from early morning to late at night. It is this dedication that a cynical management seeks to exploit.”

Care worker Lisa, said that due to the public sector pay cap and the loss of weekend overtime she has had to take a second job just to pay the mortgage.

“The changes mean I will have to give up one of the jobs and face the stress of facing losing my home.

“We haven’t had a proper pay rise since 2010. I can’t afford to strike, but I can’t afford not to."

“It’s not just about me, but the service we provide is being destroyed. We all grow old and want a good Homecare service to be there if we need it.”

There would also be  a 150 redundancies out of a 350 work force,meaning a cut of 40% in the workforce.

 

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