Public service union UNISON has won a major legal victory for 10 home care workers who are set to share £100000 (EUR 109000) in compensation for underpayment of wages. The case involves the failure of private contractors to pay to cover travelling time between jobs. It could have major implications for other home care workers and UNISON is calling on the government to act to outlaw the practice. Effectively, some of the workers were being paid less than half the minimum wage by being denied payment for travel time - an essential part of their work as home care staff - with some working as long as 14 hours a day.
Union secures major legal victory on pay for home care workers
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On 17 October the Labour Court in Nordhausen in central Germany ruled that two employees of the Celenus social care company had been unfairly dismissed for trade union activity and should be reinstated. Carmen Laue and Heike Schmidt, members of the ver.di service union, were summarily sacked in April for distributing leaflets as part of a long-running, and continuing campaign for better pay at Celenus which is part of the Orpea social care multinational. EPSU and its affiliates from France, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Spain that also organise in Orpea sent messages of support.
25th January will see the first of another series of partial work stoppages by home care workers in the Basque region in protest at poor pay and working conditions. The actions follow similar protests at the end of last year coordinated by the UGT, USO, ELA and LAB trade union organisations. The unions say that companies are not respecting the collective agreement and make no guarantees on hourly payments when they bid for contracts. The unions are also protesting against excessive flexibility and use of temporary contracts and the fact that workers haven't had a pay increase for five years
Home care workers in the Basque region of northern Spain are in the third month of their campaign to secure better pay and employment conditions. Their latest partial work stoppage took place on 25 January and further action is planned for 12 and 27 February to put pressure on city councils and the regional council to act on the low pay and precarious employment conditions that are common to the contracts run by private companies across the region. EPSU sent a solidarity message.