This morning I’ve been on the picket line with Sirona Care workers in Bath, where UNISON members are fighting cuts to their pay.
The incredible care workers – 90% of them women – who I joined at a rally outside Bath Guildhall last night and stood with this morning, are the kind of people who make me so proud of our union. Every day they provide vital, life-changing care for some of the most vulnerable people in their community. In return they receive wages that are far too low, even before they’re slashed again as a result of cuts by their local Tory council.
They’re now facing a hideous and impossible choice – either accept new contracts which include unpaid breaks of 30 minutes per shift, or lose their jobs. In most cases, these enforced breaks will not form part of existing shifts. Instead staff will accrue a half an hour ‘debt’ per shift, which they would then have to work for free at a later date.
This is completely unacceptable. Care workers should be able to focus on delivering compassionate care, and shouldn’t have to worry about losing pay or losing their jobs. Never mind pay cuts, they should be receiving far better pay for the vital work they do – and as vital workers who provide dignity and respect for our loved ones, the very least they deserve is dignity and respect in return from those who pay their wages.
I was proud to stand with them once again in their fight – and I know our whole union stands with them in solidarity.