by Raymie Kiernan
A 12-hour strike by residential care workers in Neath Port Talbot, South Wales, set for Tuesday this week has been called off. A 24-hour strike has been called in its place from 7pm on Tuesday of next week.
The change followed an argument between the workers’ Unison union and employers Gwalia Group about exempting some workers from the action to provide strike cover.
Yet Gwalia’s chief executive Michael Williams claimed they were “well-placed to manage business continuity” after Unison members voted by 80 percent to strike.
But late last week management squealed that the strike would put care home residents at risk in an effort to derail the workers’ action. Some workers believe the strike was postponed because of the threat of a court injunction.
Workers face attacks on their jobs and conditions—and a pay cut of up to 16 percent. Many signed new contracts under protest, but are still determined to resist the attacks.
But bosses claim that 95 percent of Unison members support their attack because many have signed the contracts.
About 100 people joined a noisy Unison lunchtime protest outside Gwalia’s Swansea HQ on Tuesday of last week, coinciding with an executive board meeting.
One Gwalia Unison rep told Socialist Worker, “Workers are angry the strike has been postponed. It has taken a long time to get where we are and get action. They are attacking our pay and conditions to such a level that people may as well be on zero hours contracts.
“Gwalia just wants a workforce that it can pressure to do whatever it wants. We have to make sure our strike is as strong as possible and show we won’t be walked all over.”