Care staff at St Monica Trust ready to take further strike action

UNISON has repeatedly called for the employer to get round the table and discuss the situation.

After five days of strike action, interventions from MPs and widespread support from residents, their families and the public, St Monica Trust is still refusing to engage in talks, says UNISON today (Thursday).

Earlier this year St Monica Trust, who has care homes in Bristol and North Somerset, gave staff an ultimatum – sign new detrimental contracts or face the sack. Backed by UNISON, the care staff working for the Trust decided to fight back.

Strike action took place outside care homes across Bristol and North Somerset which was backed by Barry Gardiner MP, who joined care staff on the picket line before heading straight to the House of Commons to raise a question about the dispute in parliament.

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has also lent his support to the campaign with a video message of support to care staff and a commitment to meet with the chief executive at St Monica Trust.

UNISON has repeatedly called for the employer to get round the table and discuss the situation. St Monica Trust, however, has refused to engage in talks with the union. Instead, they are pressuring staff to sign new contracts and denying them the right to trade union representation in meetings.

UNISON North Somerset branch secretary Louise Branch said: “Some care workers received letters from their employers, stating they would lose thousands of pounds per year. St Monica continue to say that staff won’t be worse off, but that simply isn’t true.

“Despite many attempts to discuss and find a better outcome for already low-paid workers, St Monica Trust has systematically refused to engage in talks.

“Staff and ultimately those who rely on their care deserve better. There’s still time for the employer to respond to UNISON’s request for urgent talks. The trustees should also step in and join the call for a resolution to the ongoing issue.”

To resolve the dispute UNISON has suggested engaging with ACAS but so far St Monica Trust has refused to respond to the union’s request.

A care worker who spent time on the picket line said: “It was incredibly humbling to have people who we had never met before offering support to me and my colleagues throughout our days of action.

“I have had so many positive conversations with family members of residents and the public and the solidarity they have all shown us has been amazing.

“I’m willing to take further action for as long as it takes to bring St Monica Trust to the table for talks with my union.”