Care workers, cleaners and maintenance have launched a three-day strike over wages and rights at a north London care home.
The action by members of the United Voices of the World (UVW) trade union took place at Sage Nursing Home in Golders Green on January 15-17.
Workers at the home are demanding a £12 per hour pay rise and the same level of sick pay and annual leave as NHS workers.
Andrene, a care worker with 17 years of service, said: “We’re ready. We believe in what we are doing. We have been ignored for months, just like care workers all over the country. This is the only option left for us. Our employers need to do the right thing. We must make a change in this industry, if we can’t during the pandemic, then when?”
Bile, another care worker with 11 years of service, added: “It is unreasonable to be living on poverty wages for years and years. We are care workers, we have empathy for the residents we care for. They have taken advantage of this fact for a very long time. Going on strike is a horrible decision, and it’s tough to do it during lock down, but if we don’t do it, nothing will change. We are doing this for ourselves, our families, the residents we care for and care workers up and down the country.”
The nursing home is run by Sage, a charity overseen by volunteer trustees, serving the Jewish community.
A spokesperson for the home said the action had involved 28 out of its 100 staff and contingency measures had been taken to ensure the action had not disrupted the safe running of the home.
The charity said it was reliant on donations and aimed to make 60% of its beds available to people who cannot afford to pay its full fees.
Sage said its pay rates were benchmarked against local and national rates, adding it had been battling the effects of the COVID, which had included increased costs and the tragic loss of up to a third of its residents.
The charity said it was running at a monthly operating loss of £10,000 and accused the UVW of making “unrealistic demands” that if implemented would lead to the closure of the home.