Sage Nursing Home strike Sage Nursing Home strike. Photo: Cici Washburn

Cici Washburn spoke to a senior care worker at Sage Nursing Home who went on strike in October, demanding fair pay and sick pay

UVW workers at Sage Nursing Home in Golders Green were on strike for 2 days at the end of October and are still in dispute. They are fighting for decent pay and sick pay. All the workers are on minimum wage or a little above, they have all worked through very difficult circumstances in the pandemic and are facing additional difficulties with staff shortages.

The workers were on strike at the beginning of the year, the bosses made promises and nothing happened, so they continued their fight. Becayse the care home is technically a charity, the bosses say they can’t afford to give the staff a pay rise, but these bosses are actually billionaires who own multiple care homes.

The residents who pay £100k a year to live there are at the heart of these workers’ fight and the workers are very clear that the residents deserve better and that the social care system doesn’t work and needs radical change.

Bile, a senior care worker at Sage Nursing Home and UVW member, told us,

“We have chosen to be cleaners, care workers, maintenance staff as a vocation. We are skilled workers and we work with passion and commitment and have been loyal servants of Sage Nursing Home and our dear residents who we care for with respect, dignity and compassion.

“During the pandemic, and before it, we worked with pride and dedication. We went above and beyond, and all we are asking from our bosses is to stop the mismanagement, the toxic work environment, the bullying  and total lack of respect. We’re asking for dignity, respect and equality at work, full sick pay as we ciurrently have none, overtime payment for unsociable hours, and a London living wage.

“The trustees of Sage and the matron manager can’t hear us, they can’t see us, they don’t listen to us. It is therefore as a last resort that we decided to take strike action. After the last 2-day strike on 21 to 22 October, we returned to work and the feeling is good, because we are the catalyst for all low-paid workers in the social care system - and we will keep pushing until the changes happen. It always seems impossible until it is done, we will make it possible, all together and united.”

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