Solidarity from Southport for striking care workers

UNISON community conference and seminar sends message of support to Alternative Futures members striking this weekend

Solidarity was the message from UNISON’s community service group to striking care workers at the Alternative Futures Group across north west England today.

The UNISON members began 48 hours of strike action at 7.0am this morning over their employer’s plans to withdraw ‘top-up’ payments for sleep in shifts.

The workers involved care for vulnerable adults who live in their own homes and need support at night.

The staff are on low wages and face significant cuts to their incomes due to AFG’s decision to reduce sleep-in top-up payments by £15 for each shift.  Some staff work three of these shifts each week and stand to lose more than £2,000 a year that they just cannot afford.

UNISON points out that AFG is cutting its staff’s even though there has been  no cut in the funding that they are receiving from the local councils who commission the services.

Some 660 union members were balloted over industrial action, with 87% voting in favour of striking.  AFG pulled out of Acas talks aimed at resolving the dispute.

Assistant general secretary Christina McAnea and shadow business secretary – and Salford and Eccles MP – Rebecca Long-Bailey show their solidarity

Strike rallies are taking place across the region on today, with the main one at St George’s Hall steps in Liverpool at 1pm.

UNISON’s community service group, which is meeting in Southport in the region this weekend, includes many care workers employed by charities and other third-sector organisations which councils commission to provide vital care services.

Conference delegates will be discussing the union’s response to the government’s green paper this afternoon, especially a call to “ensure that the issues of minimum wage for sleep-in shifts and violence at work are addressed in this response”, and campaigning for fair pay for workers in commissioned services.