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15.10.2021 / Press releases /

Sage Nursing Home workers to strike for dignity in care for all

“WE ARE SHORT-STAFFED, MISMANAGED AND PAID POVERTY WAGES”

  • United Voices of the World (UVW) members at a North London care home serve notice of industrial action, sending a call to all low paid, migrant, and precarious key workers to get organised and fight for dignity, respect and a living wage.
  • Carers, domestic, and maintenance workers at Sage Nursing home in North London will commence strike action on 20 October. Workers say the home is short-staffed, mismanaged and bullying, favouritism, and that blame culture is rife.
  • This follows months of empty promises by trustees, as well as delaying tactics and a failure to take action over what UVW members believe to be unfair dismissal and disciplinary action of long-serving workers and UVW members, Adam and Shamila. 
  • Striking workers will be available for interviews and photo opportunities on the picket line from 8am-11am on 21 October at Sage Nursing Home, 208 Golders Green Rd, London NW11 9AL. UVW strike actions are picture and sound rich.

Bile, senior care worker at Sage and member of UVW Executive Committee, said: 

“We built a high profile campaign, supported by care workers around the UK, that led to strike action at the start of the year in the harshest of conditions during a global pandemic lockdown.

Yet Sage Nursing trustees not only failed to keep their word but they also continue to preside over a workplace that is short-staffed, mismanaged and where bullying, favouritism, and a blame culture is rife. They have tried every trick in the book to break us but our resolve is stronger than ever.”

Noemi, domestic worker in the nursing home laundry room, said:

“During these difficult times, while everyone was under lockdown, we continued to wash, clean, and look after the elderly with dedication, joy and compassion. All key workers deserve to earn a living wage, not the measly poverty pay we are on at the moment of £8.91 we receive as a minimum or £9.60 per hour some receive as a maximum. I work 6 days a week, we haven’t received a pay raise for 8 years. Instead, the trustees chose to reward us with empty promises and unfair treatment.” 

A UVW spokesperson said:

“The response from the trustees is most regrettable. The trustees have it within their means to meet our members’ request. It is simply astounding that Mr Freshwater, as a trustee of Mayfair Charities, constitutionally committed to ‘the relief of poverty’, is not cognisant that the employees of his nursing home live on or even below the poverty line in some cases. It’s high time the trustees take a closer look at the workplace culture and practice for their employees and residents/to ensure there is dignity in care for all – employees and residents.”

For further information contact the UVW comms team.

Isabel: 07706 987443

E-mail: comms@uvwunion.org.uk

Notes for editors:

The full demands being made by the workers are:

i) pay a minimum hourly wage of £12, to be reviewed on a yearly basis and increased in-line with RPI inflation levels.

ii) pay a 15% enhancement for Saturday shifts and a 20% enhancement for night shifts and Sunday shifts.

iii) provide a paid 1-hour break during the night shift.

iv) provide an Occupational Sick Pay scheme in-line with the NHS.

v) provide annual leave entitlement in-line with the NHS.

vi) have fair and transparent policies with regards to shift allocation.

vii) remunerate staff carrying out the additional work of absent colleagues at the rate the absent colleague would have received.

viii) address concerns around staffing levels among domestic staff.

United Voices of the World is an anti-racist, member-led, direct action, campaigning trade union and we exist to support and empower the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly BAME and migrant workers in the UK. We fight the bosses through direct action on the streets and through the courts and demand that all members receive at least the London Living Wage, full pay, sick pay, dignity, equality and respect.

The nursing home is governed by a Board of Trustees that includes Benzion Schalom Eliezer Freshwater, a renowned and generous philanthropist who is also a trustee of many other charities and was estimated to have a net worth of over £2 billion in 2020. UVW union maintains that a nominal donation to the nursing home to ensure all employees earn a living wage and receive a sick pay scheme that makes it financially viable for them to take time off work when ill in order to protect their health and that of Sage residents is not unrealistic. UVW members also call for a review of management practices to ensure the home is delivering dignity in care for residents and employees.

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