Mags Cowling’s speech to Doncaster Care UK strikers demo on Saturday 17 May
“Hi, my name is Mags Cowling and I am a Doncaster Care UK striker (and newly elected Unison shop steward).
We were previously employed by the NHS until last year when we were put out for tender and handed to a company called Care UK. If the tender had been won on the level of care the NHS would have won hands down.
But it was with great sadness that we were turned over in September 2013, to a company who say they needed to make cuts even though they are a multi-million pound organisation owned by Bridgepoint, a private equity company. If they needed to make savage cuts and couldn’t run it on the budget then why take the contract on?
Two months into the contract, Care UK dropped the bombshell. There would have to be changes to our terms and conditions and yes you’ve guessed it the front line workers would face the savage cuts which included 35% cuts to pay and sickness and holidays being cut as well.
The workers were balloted and voted 98% in favour of industrial action. We are currently on our fifth round of strike action (just completed 34 days of strikes so far)! Negotiations have taken place with Care UK but with no movement except a 14 month transitional payment of enhancements, but when asked what are we supposed to do after the reply given was “Learn to budget!”
Also it was agreed that our senior managers would be given a rise of £2000 a year. Nice timing Care UK!!!
So again we fight back saying “Enough is enough” and we the strikers will not lay down and roll over while they cut our wages to make profit for themselves and shareholders!
We care for some of the most vulnerable people in society who are not just our service users but are also our family. Some who do not have a voice but we will be their voice and say Care before profit every time.
We also say shame on this government for ever allowing the privatisation of our beloved NHS. The NHS belongs to the people and should stay with the people not sold off to make profit, it’s criminal that this is allowed to happen. Remembering of course what our forefathers fought wars for to give us a welfare service.
Its time to Reclaim our NHS back.
Care UK highlight on their web-page how they value their dedicated, experienced, skilled staff from the NHS who transferred over – Yeah right! They value so much they are cutting our wages and in some cases people will even lose their homes, and why? All so they can make their profit and give themselves bigger houses, nicer cars, better holidays whilst causing suffering to those paying for it.
Skilled staff will be forced to leave jobs they have loved doing for years and be replaced by unskilled inexperienced staff some of whom haven’t even been CRB checked but allowed to look after vulnerable service users who will be paid minimum wages including some on zero hours contracts!
So we the Care UK strikers ask for the support and backing of the Unions and all over the country to fight back at this government and all they stand for. They and the bankers are to blame for the state this country is in yet it is the working class made to pay for it every time.
What does our future generations have if we don’t stand together United as one saying ‘Enough is enough’”.
No to Cuts, No to Privatisation, Save our NHS. SOLIDARITY!
Send messages of support to [email protected] and donations/cheques made out to: “Doncaster, District & Bassetlaw Health Branch” and sent to: Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster, DN4 5GJ.
Come to the 8th Annual NSSN Conference on Saturday July 5th – ‘What recovery? We want our share! Fight Together for a Pay Rise! – Break the pay freeze, fight for a real living wage, oppose zero-hour contracts, fight for PAYE’. Leaflet – http://www.scribd.com/doc/221151679/NSSN-2014-conference-leaflet
It will be on from 11am-5pm in Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL – delegate/visitor fee £6. Confirmed speakers include Ronnie Draper BFAWU bakers’ union General Secretary, POA General Secretary Steve Gillan and Janice Godrich PCS President. Email us now if you want to come as well as if you want leaflets – [email protected].
If you want to put yourself forward for the NSSN steering committee, email us by 12noon on Thursday July 3rd
Get your trade union branch or trades council to affiliate to the NSSN – it only costs £50. Already affiliated? Please think about renewing it. Also, many of our supporters pay a few pounds a month. You can set up a similar standing order to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’, HSBC – sort code 40-06-41, account number 90143790. Our address is NSSN, PO Box 54498, LondonE10 9DE. Affiliation letter here
And if you can, come to one of our regional Conferences. If there is not one in your area, get in touch to either assist in organising or have a speaker at one of your meetings or events. Contact Rob or Linda on [email protected]
PCS national conference votes for co-ordinated strike action on pay
Great turnout in Land Registry strike (May 14) – Our 48-hour Land Registry strike has seen a great turnout with members on picket lines from daybreak read more
RMT declares strike on Heathrow Express and Connect (May 19) – RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed a further wave of strike action across Heathrow Express this weekend in response to a package of multi-million pound cuts which amount to an all-out assault on pay, jobs and safety and a continued failure by the company to address a series of safety-critical issues raised by the union
RMT News April / May 2014 Issue Now Available download here
Defend Mark Harding, drop the charges now, defend the right to picket (May 10) – With the strike action on the Tube on hold, it is important not to lose momentum in the campaign to defend Mark. He has been charged under Section 241 of the Trade and Labour Relations Act and could face a prison sentence. Mark was dragged off the picket line at Hammersmith by the police after a strikebreaking staff member got upset at being asked to respect the picket line. His trial is Friday 23rd May, at City of London Magistrates Court, 1 Queen Victoria Street, EC4N 4XY (nearest Tube Bank/Monument). Mark’s friends and supporters are meeting at The Fine Line, Monument St, EC3R 8BG (Monument Tube) at 9am from where we will make our way to the court download leaflet
IN PICTURES: London Fast Food Rights Day of Action (May 16) –May 15th saw protests and strike action around the world as fast food workers went on the offensive for higher wages and trade union rights. Here in Britain the Bakers union the BFAWU organised actions around the country as part of their fast food rights campaign. The London leg of the day of action took place outside McDonald’s on Whitehall Road, a stone’s throw from Parliament see photos
Construction workers protest for PAYE this Friday (see Blacklisting section)
London Underground faces bank holiday closure over power workers’ dispute (19 May) -The London Underground faces a complete closedown this bank holiday weekend, as the workers, who control the power to run the trains, prepare to strike in a dispute over pay differentials read more
Occupational Therapists strike against bullying (May 15) – Occupational Therapists (OTs) in Greenwich will be taking strike action on Wednesday 21st May to protest about bullying and harassment in the workplace read more from NSSN website
Health branches: order your campaign material for 5 June (May 16) -UNISON is encouraging as many health branches as possible to hold protests on 5 June 2014 to raise awareness about the anger members are feeling around the recent NHS pay announcements read more
Strike Ballot For Council And Schools Members (May 16) – GMB Strike Ballot In Local Councils And Schools In England, Wales And Northern Ireland As 83% Of Members Reject 1% Pay Offer. Ballot in June and if the result is positive we plan to strike on 10th July as members faced with years of pay freezes, low pay, cuts and job losses say enough is enough read more
No deal in college pay talks (May 19) – UCU has rejected a 0.7% pay offer and told England’s college bosses to come back to the negotiating table with an offer that addresses members’ falling pay over recent years. Unions met with the colleges’ representative, the Association of Colleges (AoC) on Friday to try and thrash out a deal. Further education staff have seen their pay fall by 16% in real terms since 2009 and must now also meet higher monthly pension contributions. The next set of talks are scheduled for Wednesday 18 June read more
Lambeth College indefinite strike action ballot underway with protests in Brixton on Saturday (May 16) – A dispute at Lambeth College over changes to working conditions is set to continue after talks aimed at avoiding further strike action collapsed this week read more
Brixton Ritzy members strike again this Wednesday
Blacklisting & Victimisation
Blacklist Support Group update
1. Government refuses to support blacklisted workers
After a 3 year investigation into blacklisting, the Scottish Affairs Select Committee report proposed a number of recommendations to eradicate blacklisting. The cross party report by MPs called for no public contracts to be awarded to blacklisting firms until they prove they have “self-cleansed”. This included paying compensation at levels agreed by the trade unions, direct employment on future public contracts and a procedure to ensure that blacklisted workers are not denied jobs in the future. The proposals were sent to the government but unfortunately they have all been disregarded by both the governments in Scotland and Westminster.
The response by Ian Davidson, chair of the Select Committee is in this link:
2. Employment Agency exposed as running blacklist of pro-union workers
A Danish TV programme has exposed ongoing blacklisting by the employment agency Atlanco Rimec. The agency operates in the UK and Ireland in the construction industry. The Scottish Affairs Select Committee have stated that they will open up further investigations into ongoing blacklisting following this revelation.
3. UCATT Conference
UCATT national delegates conference last week unanimously passed a motion calling for a full public inquiry into blacklisting and in support of the Shrewsbury Pickets.
4. Recent blacklisting protests have taken place at Alder hey Hospital in Liverpool where Laing O’Rourke and Crown House continue to blacklist union activists and at the Scottish parliament during the debate about the proposed procurement Bill. Great stuff everyone who took part (pix attached)
5. Friday 23rd May – sparks day of action against agencies
Following the recent changes in the rules on self-employment there have been a number of industrial disputes involving agency workers demanding to be taken on the cards directly. Some of the sites have been successful, with workers either taken on directly by the contractor or the agency, while other agencies have developed an “umbrella” scheme to avoid the law. The UNITE construction rank & file under the banner of ‘Site Worker’ paper are organising a series of actions across the UK on Friday 23rd May against agencies who are refusing to take workers on the cards. Blacklisted workers will be participating in the events in London, Manchester, Wales, North East and Midlands
For further details contact: [email protected]
6. PCS Conference
Blacklisting is being discussed at a fringe meeting about undercover police at PCS conference in Brighton this Wednesday evening.
Keep the Faith
International (also see Labourstart)
Turkey: Soma miners solidarity appeal. Letter of protest to Turkish government read more on NSSN website
Diary (see & use false economy)
24 National Anti-McNulty march and rally in Doncaster
21 “No to Austerity” demo at the BBC, 21st June….No More Austerity – Demand the Alternative National Demonstration + Free Festival, Sat 21 June 2014 – Assemble 1pm BBC HQ, Portland Place London W1 1AA Then march to Parliament
Hurrah for the Luddites: challenging the myths about Luddism – 2-4pm at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1.
The event is about seeing the Luddites in their proper historical context. Contrary to myth, they weren’t a bunch of head bangers. Luddism was a genuine social movement made up of normal working people fighting for justice. They had immense support, were well organised and for a time were immensely successful. Come along and hear more about the true Luddites!
Ken Rowley: Ken is a former Vice President of the National Union of Mineworkers. He is a member of the Wakefield Socialist History Group. He has spoken widely on the Luddites and their West Yorkshire connections to both the University of the Third Age and to local history groups.
Shaun Cohen: Shaun is a member of the Ford-Maguire Society. The Society is named after two notable Leeds socialist pioneers Isabella Ford and Tom Maguire. Shaun’s particular interest is the radical history of Leeds. He has researched widely into the Luddite revolutionary tradition.
Admission to the event is free and there will be a free buffet.
Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group
5 8th Annual NSSN Conference – Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, LondonWC1R 4RL
12 Durham Miners Gala 2014 visit Durham Miners’ Association official website here
18-20 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – Tolpuddle, near Dorchester, Dorset visit Tolpuddle Martyrs museum here
18 TUC demonstration in London – ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’. It will begin with a march through central London, culminating in a rally in Hyde Park read more here
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