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Photo essay: Barnet’s disastrous privatisation of elderly care

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Fremantle strike rally

Photo: Fremantle strike rally

Fremantle workplaces were in uproar. Frugal finance was all very well, but the new contract was just too compromising. Careworkers would have the bailiffs at their doors.

They also felt that trust management was dismissive in the extreme. Management told careworkers to make up their lost income by taking on extra shifts. This meant that some people would have to work upwards of 60 hours a week, with no extra income for childcare to cover the extra hours at work.

Management also played a shabby hand with dissenters. Popular Unison steward Andrew Rogers was sacked and union members were banned from meeting in Fremantle carehomes.

Fremantle also attempted to take down the Labourstart website - a campaigning site that had gone into bat for the careworkers.

''I said [to management] - how do you expect us to be able to cope [with these cuts]? What [management] said is that you have to do extra hours to make up your pay. But what about the quality of our daily life?'' said careworker Lango Gamanga.

Careworker Sandra Jones: ''I came here all those years ago and I worked hard and then I got more leave and more wages. I’m 48 now. I don’t want to go back to how I was when I was 30… we’re not asking for a pay rise or anything like that. We’re just asking for what we had."

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Kate Belgrave blogs on the experience of public service users facing cuts.


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