Time for £12 - Dignity and respect for care home workers

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My name is Andrene Williams. I'm a proud Jamaican mother of 3 gorgeous children, Junior, Isaiah and Shinaya, and a proud and committed care worker at Sage Nursing home, Golders Green, London, where I've worked for 17 years.

Throughout this pandemic us care workers have been called "key workers" and "heroes" but my employer - which includes a billionaire called Benzion Freshwater, only pays my colleagues and I between £8.72 and £9.60 per hour, and we don’t even get full pay sick pay. 

Living in London with such low wages - on poverty wages - and such terrible conditions is impossible. My colleagues have had to come to work ill, others have had to come back early from operations or injuries because they can’t afford to pay rent and buy food on the measly sick pay allowance we get. 

Putting a smile on the resident's face is what fills me as a person. When you know family members can't be there, but you are there and they trust you, you feel how important it is to do this job.

However, that doesn’t mean we should not get a living wage or decent terms and conditions. 

That’s why we have voted to strike for £12 per hour and equal sick pay and annual leave to people who work in the NHS. We may not be employees of the NHS but we do provide a national health service and shouldn't be treated any differently.

When the pandemic hit things were tougher and scarier than I could ever imagine.

My baby boy, Isaiah, was born three months early with a lung condition. So I had to think, do I stay home and protect my child or do I work? But I had bills to pay at the end of the month, and I knew my colleagues and my residents needed me. I had to take the risk and it was gut wrenchingly scary.

Now we have said enough is enough. We want, need and deserve a living wage and sick pay.

Please support us.