Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Doncaster Care UK workers begin 14-day strike

Care workers union meeting in Doncaster
Image caption Unison said Care UK workers had suffered four years of pay freezes making it "impossible to meet the basic costs of living".

Care workers demanding the living wage in Doncaster have begun a 14-day strike.

Care UK cares for 140 people with learning disabilities in about 40 properties in Doncaster.

Unison members said the company should increase workers' wages from £7 to the national living wage of £7.65 an hour.

Chris Hindle of Care UK said the pay demands were "simply unrealistic" and "at odds with what is happening in the NHS."

The national company bids for health and social care contracts from the NHS.

In Doncaster, it provides assisted living for people with learning disabilities in their homes.

When the strike ends members will have taken 48 days of industrial action since disputes began last September.

Jim Bell of Unison said about 120 of 150 Care UK Unison members had gone on strike in Doncaster.

Four years of pay freezes had made it "impossible to meet the basic costs of living," Mr Bell said.

'Simply unrealistic'

Mr Hindle, of Care UK, said he was "deeply disappointed" by the strike, which he said was "a completely new dispute within Doncaster's learning disability service".

He said the pay demands were "simply unrealistic in light of the reduced funding available from the council" and said they seemed "totally at odds with what is happening in comparable jobs in the NHS and other public sector roles."

Mags Dalton, a care worker for 15 years, said low wages had forced her to give up her house in Cantley.

"Because of the cuts I'm losing nearly all my rent, nearly £400 a month," Ms Dalton said.

"I love my job, I've been working with people with learning disabilities for many years, but I feel I've been forced out of my job because I can't manage on that money.

"We're on strike to preserve the people's NHS and the quality of care."

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