Dave Prentis joined Care UK workers on the picket line in Doncaster this morning, as they took a 23rd day of strike action in defence of their pay and conditions.
The private company, which was handed a contract to care for vulnerable people with learning difficulties last year, wants to inflict massive pay cuts on already low-paid the staff who care for those people.
UNISON has tried to negotiate with Care UK, which is refusing to change its position. A ballot of 150 UNISON members saw 90% voting for action and members have already taken several periods of sustained strike action, as well as action short of a strike.
Mr Prentis told ITV news: “Many of our members will simply not be able to pay their bills and some would lose their homes. They have shown courage and self-sacrifice to take this action because it is not just the threatened cuts they are fighting against.
“They are also fighting to preserve a service to some of the most vulnerable people in society and I want to show our admiration and solidarity for a brave and principled group of people.”
Branch secretary Jim Board told the local Doncaster Free Press: “Dave Prentis visiting the picket lines today is a very important moment in this dispute and gives a massive boost in confidence to the Care UK staff that are striking.”
UNISON is asking branches to support this important strike action by making donations to the hardship fund and to help these workers continue their fight.
Messages of support or donations should be sent to:
Yvonne Butcher, branch secretary
Doncaster District and Bassetlaw Health Branch, 20511
White Rose Way
Doncaster DN4 5GJ
For more information, please contact Jim Bell, regional organiser. Yorkshire and Humberside, at firstname.lastname@example.org