Doncaster care workers strike on London HQ

Striking care workers involved in one of the longest running disputes in the history of the NHS staged a noisy protest today, claiming their pay and conditions have worsened.

Workers striking earlier this year

Members of Unison working for Care UK in Doncaster have just launched a three-week walkout following months of action.

A group of workers travelled to central London to demonstrate outside the offices of parent firm Bridgepoint.

Nicola Naylor, who has worked as a nurse for 35 years, claimed qualified staff are leaving because of changes to their pay and conditions and they are being replaced by cheaper, untrained employees.

The quality of service is being affected, so vulnerable people are being hit. This is all about the privatisation of the NHS.

– Nicola Naylor, nurse

This is the 51st day of industrial action, but morale is stronger than ever. New, untrained staff who should have someone with them are working alone. It is wrong.

– Jim Bell, Unison

Unison said it is focusing its protest on the private equity company which owns Care UK.

We are extremely disappointed that a small minority of activists are seeking to continue strike action as a political platform at the expense of 130 adults with learning disabilities. We are confident that with the expected low participation in the industrial action, coupled with our robust contingency plans, that the people depending on this service will be able to continue to enjoy their normal day-to-day activities. We expect 85 per cent of our workforce will be working over the next three weeks delivering this vital service to the local people who depend on them for their support and care needs. This is an essential social care service, funded by a local council which must find over £100 million of savings. It is not an NHS service funded by an NHS commissioner with ring fenced funding. Colleagues transferring to Care UK from the previous provider have in any case maintained their pay rates at around 50 per cent higher than care workers in comparable services. Union demands for a further pay increase of up to 10 per cent is simply unaffordable. No health or social care service is able to make pay increases on this scale at the present time.

– Care UK