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08.12.2022 / News /

Sage care workers are back!

“Our job is physical, psychological, and social, and we bring a unique service, so we demand that they respect us and value us as we deserve; better wages, better working conditions and environment, and a halt to what feels like an arbitrary use of power. We are not a black bin bag that they discard after use.“ Bile Jean Ahouzan, Senior care worker, Sage Nursing home,  North London.

United Voices of the World (UVW) members, care, domestic and maintenance workers at Sage Nursing home in North London, are ready to fight for what is right… again. This week they instructed their union to inform Trustees – one of whom is a billionaire – that they will be voting over Christmas on whether to take strike action.

The laundry, domestic, maintenance and care workers in the middle of the worst cost of living crisis in a generation are demanding £14 per hour, a sick pay scheme in line with NHS rates, amongst other improved conditions which have not been addressed. The Trustees were given a deadline to respond to their legitimate demands. This deadline was extended  and still not met at the time of writing.

The workers at Sage Nursing home are no strangers to taking collective action for dignity and respect at work. These brave pandemic heroes and strikers have been here before. The workers self-organised, joined UVW and built a high-profile campaign and with support from community activists, organisations such as SOS NHS and CaSwo, UNISON and Labour and Green Party branches they gathered 70,000 signatories, members of parliament signed an Early Day motion and their strike made national news headlines. They declared a huge victory in December 2021 after a protracted dispute over poverty wages and lack of PPE that inspired care and other key workers up and down the country.

Despite that first victory, the Sage workers knew that the battle for dignity and respect at work wasn’t over, because rights are not granted and they, like workers around the UK, are facing rampant inflation, Lamin Conteh, Sage care worker, and UVW member, said: “We’d like to be recognised for the job we do. This includes being paid a decent wage, that our employer builds capacity in the workplace and that it takes care of us when we are sick.”   

Noemi Cuenca Ordóñez,  Sage laundry worker and UVW member, said: “I’ve worked at Sage for almost 10 years and I love the job I do, but it feels like loyalty means nothing here. We need more changes in Sage not just for us but for the benefit of the people we look after, and with the support of our union we will get them. We deserve better. Dignity, equality and respect are the most important values at work.”

Sage would be unwise to ignore these determined Covid heroes and key workers. 

If you want to support their campaign please share Bile, Lamin’s and Noemi’s word… and get ready to join them in January 2023!

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