Care support workers employed by the Alternative Futures Group will take strike action for 48 hours
Care support workers employed by the Alternative Futures Group (AFG) will take strike action for 48 hours beginning at 7am on Saturday (2 March).
The staff care for vulnerable adults who live in their own homes and need support at night.
The staff are on low wages and are facing significant cuts to their incomes due to AFG’s decision to reduce sleep-in top-up payments by £15 for each shift. Some staff work three of these shifts each week and face a cut to their income of more than £2,000 a year.
AFG are cutting the income of their staff despite there being no cut in the funding that they are receiving from the local councils who commission the services.
A ballot of 660 members of the trade union UNISON returned a large majority (87%) in favour of striking. AFG pulled out of Acas talks aimed at resolving the dispute.
Strike rallies will be taking place across the region on Saturday (details below), with the main one at St George’s Hall steps in Liverpool at 1pm.
Emma, a care support worker employed by AFG said:
“I’ve not been on strike before but I’m at my wits’ end. The sleep-in payments are a lifeline to me and my family. I can’t afford to carry on working in this job if they don’t pay us for our time.
“I love the job I do and the service users. The care users’ families have been very supportive – they know we’re doing this for the good of the service. Things can’t go on as they are and we’re all supporting each other to make sure AFG change course.”
UNISON North West Regional Organiser Tim Ellis said:
“AFG have acted opportunistically and prematurely in cutting sleep-in top-up payments. AFG have not suffered any cut to their income from councils, and yet they are choosing to cut the incomes of low-paid care staff.
“It is hard for care support workers to take strike action. They care deeply about the service users they support and take pride in the service they provide. But many staff are finding it hard to continue working in the care sector because of poverty pay and the toll that the work takes on family life. Sleep-in top-up payments form a really important part of workers’ incomes and help them to be able to afford to stay in their jobs. For the sake of the viability of the service and the well-being of service users, it is vital that these payments are restored.
“The staff are taking strike action this weekend because AFG has pressed ahead with cuts to their incomes. AFG needs to do right by their staff and the service users and reach an agreement to restore sleep-in top-up payments.”
AFG Strike Rallies
Saturday 2 March
Liverpool, 1pm, St George’s Hall steps, L1 1JJ
Burnley, 11am, Peace Gardens, Croft Street BB11 2BD
Rochdale, 10am, Peace Garden, The Esplanade OL16 1AB
Tameside, 10am, Ashton Town Hall OL6 6DL