“We can change things when we stick together”

Worker reinstated and sleep-in payments doubled at care homes in Greater Manchester.



Mid-way through her sixth consecutive day working a 12-hour shift in a local care home, Janet* was unable to carry on.  Exhausted, she arranged for a colleague to come in to cover the remainder of her shift.

Janet was then ordered by her manager to come back to work within 30 minutes or lose her job.  Unable to do so, Janet was then dismissed - by text message. 

Janet’s workmates were upset about her treatment and spoke to UNISON.  They worked together on a grievance to get Janet’s job back and they went to speak to the manager as a group.  They explained that Janet was an asset to the home and that residents were very fond of her.  The manager agreed to reinstate Janet there and then. 

At another care home, members told UNISON reps that they were only being paid £26 for an entire sleep-in shift.  A grievance was submitted to management and it was pointed out to them that they were failing to pay staff even the minimum wage.  Management then increased the sleep-in rate by more than 100% to £63 for the shift – a pay rise for more than 70 staff. 

Angela*, a care worker at this home said:

“We work hard to provide excellent care for residents and it’s not right that we are treated so badly by our employer.  We should be paid fairly for the work we do.  We know now that when we stick together we can change things.” 

Kevin Lucas, Regional Manager for UNISON North West said:

“The staff at these homes have worked through their union to get their colleague reinstated and to get a better deal for sleep-ins.  This shows how effective collective power can be.

“Care workers are having to struggle just to get the very minimum that they are legally entitled to.  Staff can get a fairer deal for themselves and for the people they care for when they come together and, with the support of their union, challenge the conditions that they have endured for too long.” 

* Names have been changed.     

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