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Photo essay: Barnet’s disastrous privatisation of elderly care

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Careworker Lango Gamanga

Photo: Careworker Lango Gamanga

Keeping morale high was the problem. After 18 months of rolling strike action, careworkers started to lose heart. The trust refused to reinstate their leave and salaries. Negotiations stalled.

Then key union organiser Carmel Reynolds resigned and returned to her native Ireland to live. She said she'd had enough. Reynolds was replaced by Lango Gamanga, a charismatic, long-term careworker employee who had to try and motivate careworkers into further industrial action.

The situation was made even more challenging by a Barnet council announcement about plans to shut residential care at the Rosa Freedman carehome - one of the carehomes some careworkers were based in.

Staff were terrified about the job implications of the closure, as well they might have been: 'The closure of the residential care part of Rosa Freedman could result in staffing issues,' noted an officer report to the council’s cabinet resources committee. 'Fremantle will be responsible for these issues under the terms of the staff agreement with Fremantle Trust and Catalyst.'

Catalyst Housing was a company that provided carehome services in ''partnership'' with Fremantle. Catalyst became very relevant to the dispute, as you'll see.

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

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