Unite members at Equinox Care have voted 98% in favour of strike action, following the imposition of a new pay structure that will see workers facing massive wage cuts.
The company has issued new job descriptions and conducted a benchmarking exercise against other organisations, but refuses to disclose any meaningful financial data or details of the organisations it has used as comparators. The new rates of pay mean that some workers could lose up to £8,000 of their annual earnings.
“The consultation process has been a sham,” says Unite regional industrial officer, Jamie Major. “The employer won’t negotiate and has refused to meet us with Acas, even though this is written into the procedure agreement.”
Equinox Care employs around 120 care workers looking after vulnerable adults in the London area. A small majority of these workers are Unite members, and are understandably outraged by the company’s actions. Following the resounding vote in favour of strike action members are preparing for 24 hour stoppages on 29 May and 12 June. Further action may be taken if management still refuse to negotiate.
Equinox Care’s chief executive officer has stated that he believes employees are over-qualified and is actively trying to de-skill the workforce. The employer’s actions should give all workers in the sector cause for concern, not just the Equinox Care employees.
“This is about Equinox Care trying to position itself as a cheap delivery option,” says Jamie. “It could trigger a race to the bottom, with care sector employers slashing workers’ pay and conditions in order to compete on price. It is putting all London care workers at risk.”
Unite members at Equinox Care need your help to win this crucial dispute. You can:
Email messages of support to the workers via: Jamie.Major@unitetheunion.org
Email the chief executive officer of Equinox Care expressing your concerns: Bill.Puddicombe@equinoxcare.org.uk