Union wins higher wages at North London care home

Sage Nursing Home
Image from Sage Nursing Home’s website

Trades union United Voices of the World (UVW) has declared a victory in its dispute with the trustees of Sage Nursing Home, a Jewish care home in Northwest London, following three rounds of strike action.

Care workers, domestic and maintenance staff will receive the London Living Wage, resulting in a minimum pay rise of 11% and all other staff a rise of 5%, as of 1 December. 

The home’s board of trustees announced the pay increases, following an emergency meeting held by bosses in response to strike action that made national news, and an occupation of the trustees’ offices in Central London last month. 

Sage Nursing home is a private care home registered as a charity that receives part private and part public funding.

Bile, senior care worker at Sage and UVW executive committee member, said: “I would like to express my happiness about winning a pay rise in a long, hard-fought dispute. My gratitude is to my union the United Voices of the World, my colleagues and all our supporters. We went above and beyond to stand for what we deserve. We know that none of us acting alone can achieve success and we understand that there is still a way to go. We need to correct the legacy of past injustice and insist upon the will to change. Let there be work, bread, water, and water for all!”

Julia, care worker at Sage and UVW member, said: “We held picket lines in the harshest of conditions, distributed thousands of leaflets to the local community. We made ITV and Sky news; seventy thousand people signed our petitions; Members of Parliament signed an early day motion; we marched through Golders Green and occupied Freshwater House in Central London. We delivered this win, but the battle is not over. We are clear we must keep fighting to get what we want and what we – and the residents – deserve.”

Petros Elia, general secretary for UVW, said: “The trustees chose to ignore these Covid heroes and key workers, some of whom earn as little as £8.91 an hour. Instead, they called their demands unrealistic and called out their legitimate right to strike as self-destructive. They chose to ignore all attempts by UVW to engage in meaningful, good faith negotiations and any attempts to resolve the dispute were met with obfuscation and delaying tactics.

“But the workers kept together and kept going. This win sends a clear signal to all workers and unions however big or small, to get together, organise, and fight back: collective action does work. This is what Sage Nursing home workers at a small grassroots union have been doing and will keep doing.”

Sage Nursing Home’s trustees told HealthInvestor UK that the decision to increase wages was unrelated to the strike action stating: “We have always said that once we begin to see a rise in admissions and admission enquiries that we would increase pay. Happily, over the last few weeks, Sage has slowly begun to recover from the effects of the pandemic and as we start to fill up the empty beds and move to a stronger financial position the trustees have prioritised upholding their promise of increasing pay levels and rates.”

Date published: November 23, 2021

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