A mass rally today was held by Homecare Workers outside of the Council House today (31/07/18). Over 250 people turned up to demonstrate opposition to Council plans to cut their hours and impose new working conditions. Workers are threatened with losing money as their hours will be cut.
Unison secretary David Prentis also was there and spoke , as did represntatives from Birmingham branch. support also came from the National Union of Journalists(NUJ) and some Councillors.
Many strikers came back to Birmingham Branch HQ to hear David Prentis encourage the workers in their fight.
Fourteen days of industrial action have been announced and a rally on August 11th at 12 noon. There's a Facebook page for this demo. if you are on Facebook and want to attend.
Why are Home care Workers going on strike ?
286 UNISON members who work in the Home Care Enablement Service have been in dispute for over 12 months due to cuts in services and the attempt to impose an unworkable 3 split shift system on workers. Download Why Homecare Workers are striking File
In an attempt to resolve the dispute staff drew up their own rota to cover the shifts. Management agreed to this if we called off action as they were worried about strikes in the run up to the local elections. They allowed staff to draw up rotas, (which were the most efficient the service has ever had) we called off 5 days of strike action, then as soon as the election was over, management pulled the staff self-roster pilot. We re-balloted and again the members voted in a 57.5% turn out by 97.3% to strike. 14 days’ strike action over the next 6 weeks
Despite cutting 48% of the budget they now wish to make a further £3 million worth of cuts.
Management issued a new business case to make all the staff, 60% of whom are full time or work over 30 hours, redundant or impose on them a contract for 22.75, 21 or 14 hours. They will be asked to work 7 days out of 14 working opposite days each week. 14 hours’ contracts will be 7-11am. 21 hr contracts 4-10pm and 22.75 hr contracts of 7-11am and 12-2.30pm. This will make it almost impossible to get a second job which, due to low pay, many rely on to make ends meet.
This cut in hours will lead to a substantial loss in pay and remove entitlement to benefits like Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit.
Enablement staff passionately believe in the work they do. The service they provide is a vital one. The Council say the service isn’t efficient enough, but before the cuts started the service had a really high satisfaction rate.
This is a dispute UNISON must win. If the Council can impose such drastic cuts in hours and working patterns on this group of members ALL staff face a similar risk in the future