Fourteen care workers, cleaners and maintenance workers at Sage Nursing Home in North London are taking legal action against their employer over alleged trade union victimisation and a breach of human rights.
The workers staged two walk-outs at the private nursing home in January and February demanding a £12 per hour living wage, parity in sick pay with NHS workers and trade union recognition.
The two legal claims relate to letter a sent by the home’s trustees during a ballot for industrial action in October and a second claim for victimisation brought by a former employee.
Molly de Dios Fisher, organiser at the United Voices of the World union, which is supporting the workers, said the letter had suggested a vote in favour of strike action could lead to job losses, risk to employment, and “intimidation from the union”. 7
In the second claim, former care assistant, Bella Ruiz, said she felt “attacked by management” after filing a complaint about harassment by a nurse.
A Sage spokesman said: “Sage wholeheartedly endorses every individual’s fundamental human rights. It does not and has not victimised anyone of the basis of their trade union activities or membership.
“United Voices of the World (UVW) has made numerous false allegations against Sage in the media as part of their long running campaign and it continues to do so. Sage looks forward to having the opportunity to defend itself in due course in the appropriate forum. It would be inappropriate to comment further on the allegations which UVW has chosen to drip feed into the media given that it will be determined by judicial process.
“With regards to the dispute around pay and strike action being taken by a small number of its staff, Sage would like to re-iterate that it is a small registered charity which does not operate at a profit. It is overseen by a group of volunteer trustees and relies upon donations to pursue its charitable aims as a care home.”
Sage said it was “disappointing” it was having to redirect time and money to address the union’s demands which were “impossible” given its “severe operational challenges, increased costs and the tragic loss of a third of its residents (and hence also a substantial loss of income)” caused by COVID.