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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 January 2021

Sage care workers strike again: Billionaires refuse to pay up

photo UVW/Twitter

photo UVW/Twitter   (Click to enlarge)

Nick Auvache, North London Socialist Party

Care workers from Sage Nursing Home in Golders Green, north London, are on strike again from 4 to 8 February. They are striking for parity with their counterparts in the NHS - a pay rise to £12 an hour and the same level of sick pay and annual leave.

They staged a three-day strike in January. The workers are members of the trade union United Voices of the World (UVW).

"They make you think that you are not a person. It's how they look at you, how they treat you."

These were the words of Julia, one of the Sage nursing home care workers. Her remarks will no doubt resonate with many care workers.

They have decided that they will no longer tolerate poverty pay, poor conditions and bad treatment. They are fed up with asking for justice, they are now striking for justice!

Bile, another striking care worker, described how difficult it was to take the decision to strike. But they were encouraged by the huge support that they have received from the local community and trade unionists.

UVW held leafleting sessions in the local area in the build up to the strike, and ran a high-profile social media campaign to add pressure on the employer and build broad support.

The strike comes after months of negotiations between the workers and Sage trustees. Two are billionaire landlords, Benzion and Solomon Freshwater, owners of property empire Daejan Holdings.

Although the employer has said that it is unable to meet the strikers' demands, Sage can easily afford to pay up.

In February 2020, Sage boasted that their income had risen to £3.3 million, with another £3.2 million reserves. A UVW organiser added: "It is pretty rich for these billionaires to say there is no money to pay a living wage, while in the same breath they're hiring a union busting legal consultant with a going rate of £354 per hour."

UVW anticipate that this strike will be a historic turning point for carers. The courage of these workers could certainly act as a beacon.

But for this strike to light the torch of more widespread industrial action, it is vital that not just UVW, but other major unions - Unite, GMB and Unison - develop a plan to popularise these demands and link workers up throughout the sector. This could inspire some of the lowest-paid workers to join a union, and fight for a radical set of demands.

They also need a political voice. Here there is room for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). TUSC could enthusiastically take up the call to build support for widespread strike action, if employers fail to meet workers' demands.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

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In The Socialist 27 January 2021:


News

Covid spreading, poverty rising, rich get richer, fight for socialism!

Health, Covid and the vaccine: It's a class issue

Poverty wages: When workers can't afford to self-isolate

Fees frozen at £9,250 a year, fight for free education

DVLA Covid outbreak: They only care about output and productivity

Jaguar Land Rover: West Midlands superspreader


Schools

Schools: 'We have to fight for everything'

Martin Powell-Davies for NEU DGS: "We need to use our collective strength"


What we think

Biden, Labour, and the need for a new mass workers' party


Workplace news

Sage care workers strike again: Billionaires refuse to pay up

Unison NEC elections: United left challenge needed to fight slaughter of jobs and services

Steel site scaffolders strike for the 'rate of the job'

Merseyside: DHL workers at Burton's Biscuits strike against half-baked pay deal and bullying bosses

British Gas engineers continue strike against fire-and-rehire plans

Low-paid hospital workers strike


NHS

Overwhelmed, underfunded, underpaid, and still fighting for safe PPE

Health worker cooperation in the face of the pandemic


Arab Spring

Ten years since the 'Arab Spring'


TUSC

TUSC is up and running for May elections

Come to the TUSC local elections conference - 7 February

Why I'm leaving Labour and campaigning for TUSC

Councillors in Surrey resign from Labour and look to stand independently


Campaigns

Solidarity meeting with Mohamud Hassan

Save Our Square from New Labour gentrification

Help fund a challenge to austerity at the ballot box - donate today!


International socialist news and analysis

Mass protests in Russia against Putin regime


Review

TV Review: It's a Sin

TV review: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain


 

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