Dozens of Birmingham care workers are planning to gather in the city tomorrow in an act of solidarity with colleagues striking over the council’s plans to cut their hours.
The Trades Union Congress will host the rally in support of the workers, who have been in dispute with the city council for more than a year and taken over 50 days of strike action.
The news comes as Birmingham’s Labour-led Cabinet prepares to hold an emergency meeting to scrutinise a recent decision to impose new contracts and working terms on 199 staff in the enablement service, who help fragile residents just out of hospital to regain their independence.
Council chiefs agreed to press on with plans to overhaul the enablement service, which is currently “under performing”, according to an inspection by the CQC in January 2018, during a Cabinet meeting last week.
Ahead of the meeting, Councillor Paulette Hamilton said the proposals, backed by NHS partners, will improve the outcomes for elderly and vulnerable citizens, giving them the support “they need and deserve”.
But the revamp also involves making the entire workforce part time, working 16 to 30 hours, rather than the current mix of full and part times, in order to save £2 million. This means large pay cuts for some staff.
Since the cuts in hours proposals were announced at the end of July, hundreds of care workers have been on strike.
Two back bench Labour councillors have now “called in” the decision to enforce these new contracts and an emergency meeting will be held on February 5, reports The Birmingham Mail.
Ravi Subramanian, West Midlands regional secretary for trade union Unison told Home Care Insight that Birmingham City Council’s plans will leave homecare workers unable to support themselves and their families, and may force many to look for better-paid work elsewhere.
“They have already taken 55 days of strike action. These dedicated workers don’t want to do this, they want to be caring for the most vulnerable people in our community, but the Council has left them no choice.
“Staff will continue to fight this injustice until councillors see sense,” he added.
The solidarity rally will be held at the Birmingham and Midland Institute at 6:30pm tomorrow.