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From: The Socialist issue 928, 7 December 2016: NHS: Stop the Tory vandals

Search site for keywords: Health - Workers - Uber - Cuts - Public services - Privatisation - Technology - Carers - Care Homes - Austerity - Birmingham - Government - Economy

Workers can fight Uber-style care

Deliveroo workers successfully struck against 'gig economy' exploitation, photo by James Ivens

Deliveroo workers successfully struck against 'gig economy' exploitation, photo by James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Siobhán Friel, Birmingham South East Socialist Party

A new, Uber-style care service has been launched in Britain.

'Cera', the company behind the idea, already has several hundred carers registered. As it sounds, service users will be able to request a carer through an app. This enables them to 'cut the queue' for home care.

Cera boasts of using modern technology for the benefit of society. In fact, it's using the growing crisis in health and social care to exploit vulnerable people and workers, while advancing the backdoor privatisation of public services.

I have witnessed first-hand the hugely disproportionate effect of cuts on care patients, from the closure of care homes, to the complete removal of day care and mobility allowance from vulnerable adults. This has frequently left care patients housebound.

Care in the community is almost entirely self-funded by patients already, with a massive 26% drop in those receiving government funded care from 2010-15. Cera is simply the latest company to look to exploit the crises which have arisen from austerity measures in that time.

Companies like Uber and Deliveroo have lead the pack on profiting from precarious working conditions and casualised labour. Workers in the 'gig economy' usually get no sick pay or holiday entitlement, due to bogus 'self-employed' classification. In 2015 a study by Tax Research UK found that 80% of self-employed workers are living in poverty.

But bosses may end up with a fight on their hands yet. Uber and Deliveroo workers have both won recent gains through organising.

Community campaigns against health and care cuts are growing and linking up. Workers can, and must, fight back.

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