JOIN OUR RALLY: Sat 3rd SEPT, 12.30-2pm Meet at Greenway Centre, Southmead, BS10 5PY

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

OLDER POSTS FROM 2007 START HERE: We've won in Bristol - the campaign now goes national

FROM THE END OF THE CAMPAIGN IN 2007: LABOUR TO SCRAP HOME CARE PRIVATISATION - front page of the Bristol Evening Post. We've won our local fight but our campaign for decent employment standards and high quality, accountable home care continues. We are taking it national.
Home Care workers from Bristol met with Prime Minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown last weekend. Deputy Labour leadership Candidate Harriett Harman has pledged her support and will help us organise a meeting of MPs and Bristol Home Care workers in the House of Commons in July.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

RESULT! Labour take control of the City and commit to Keep Bristol Home Care

Describing Home Care as a 'Watershed issue' for the council in Bristol, Helen Holland the leader of the minority labour group, had the bottle to stand up and take leadership of the City. Plans to privatise Bristol's in house Home Care service are consigned to the dustbin!

Last night the Lib Dems wouldnt go far enough, they wouldnt reject privatisation . . . so the Labour and the Conservative and Greens wouldnt back them. They lost control of the City.
Labour came forward and took up the reigns! Committed to an inhouse service, the Labour group showed leadership and stuck by us.

It was a meeting full of energy. Our campaign has been successful, we have kept the inhouse service. It doesnt mean there wont be changes, of course there will. The significance of this victory is that we have established the need for a Council to commit to its inhouse service, for the leadership of the council to commit to deliver services directly and respect its own workforce and the unique contribution we make to the communities of this City.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Conservatives up the anti

Leader of Bristol's Conservative group, Richard Eddy has publicly offered to run the council in partnership with the Labour group. Putting party politics aside, its interesting to see someone be straightforward about the need for a settlement on the leadership of the council to be combined with a settlement to Keep Bristol Home Care.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Councillors come good . . . so far . . .

Last night, Councillors met to try and form a leadership group for Bristol City Council. The Lib Dems tried on three separate occasions to gather enough support for them to take control, but Labour, Tories and the Green Councillor came good and solidly opposed them.

It means the meeting was suspended for 7 days to give everyone time to talk. One thing is clear, the plan to privatise the Home Care service will have to be shelved.

Let's see what discussions with all political parties over the next few days will uncover. They need to take responsibilty for a high quality, well managed, accountable, responsive, secure, service user focused Home Care service which puts the quality of the relationships between Home Care workers and service users as a top priority - just like the older and disabled people of Bristol asked them to!

Celebration of Care

Our Celebration of Care event at Bristol Cathedral went very well. With an audience of 300 we challenged councillors and other city leaders to recognise the true value of care, both informal and professional, to our local communities.

The speakers were:

Lydia Hayes of T&G "What is happening in Bristol is significant, what will happen in Bristol will be ground breaking.

Care will be Celebrated in this city – tonight is the start. Care for the elderly and the vulnerable will not be marginalised. Care workers will be proud of their profession and will demand to be valued as professionals.

Informal carers, those that give their love, give their time, give their emotional energy
for those dear to them who need their assistance, will be supported and assisted by care professionals.

Ivan Lewis, the minister for social care, has recognised that current provision in England is inadequate, he has asked for a national debate. Let that debate start tonight,

Let the voices of the home care workers and the service users be heard.

Charlotte Leslie of the Conservative Party gave a passionate insight into to the true value of care by drawing on her personal experience of caring for an older vulnerable person with failing sight.

Jack Dromey, T&G Deputy General Secretary had a message for Bristol City Council - you may be seeking to cast aside the Home Care workers – but WE won’t. There is a national crisis in care – that is not an excuse for allowing a local crisis to emerge. It is a reason to put things right and to start putting it right locally.

The Home Care Workers of Bristol have three demands:

1 - that 50% of the Home Care service is kept in house. Enough is enough, no further privatisation.

2 - that the vacancy freeze which the service has struggled with on and off for years is now lifted.

3 - that the Council demonstrates a commitment to, and a respect for, high quality management of its Home Care service.

It is only if these three demands are met that we can be sure older and vulnerable people in this city are protected.

Stephanie Weston was the final speaker of the evening. There were quite a few in the audience that shed tears. She said: "We are paid Carers, but its beginning to feel like we really aren’t supposed to care. In a world where only the cheapest service will do, are we supposed to get in and out of a house as quick as possible?

Are we supposed to care by doing the bare minimum?

Are we supposed to resist from building any bond or attachment with people?

It is supposed to be ‘unprofessional’ to get too close, to really care.

I’m going to talk about the truth that anyone who works in Home Care knows.

The whole point of Home Care is to prevent people in need ending up in institutions. To stop them from going into residential or nursing homes before they need to, to stop them from needing hospitalization, to stop them from becoming that most demonised of patients: ‘bed blockers’.

So we look after them at HOME. From the minute we walk through the door, we enter their personal space, we impact on their personal private lives.

We do an amazing job, we are special people who support special people.

The relationships we build and the trust people place in us cannot be priced.

How much value can be placed on being a friendly, familiar face to a lonely person?

How much value can be placed on our role as an extra family member during times of crisis?

These things are special things, these things should not be ignored because they have no financial value.

They cannot be costed. We are priceless!

Councillors and the people of Bristol: You have a great service with a flexible, dedicated, hard working, workforce. A service which is cherished by its users and their families. A service which is irreplaceable.

Work with us to build on these foundations and Celebrate Care

Provide an in house homecare service which others covet

A service which treats people as individuals and values the unique and intimate bond between service users and homecare assistance

A service which will set the benchmark

A service where care comes before profit

A Celebration of Care that Bristol can be proud of.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Liverpool Home Care - EXPLOITED

Home care workers - exploited - we must stand together to gain respect!

In Barnet, in Essex, in Islington, in Cornwall, in Liverpool, in Camarthenshire, in Southampton - Home care workers are being exploited and older people are being put at risk. We must stop these abuses. Home care workers must join trade unions and those trade unions must help them to organise campaigns. There is a clear link between degradation of pay and terms and conditions and degradation of services to vulnerable people. Home Care in the private sector has become the WORST employment sector in the UK. We must speak up, Home Care workers around the country must start to join together for respect for their profession.

Please join us for our CELEBRATION OF CARE, Bristol Cathedral, Friday 11th May, 6.30pm.

Please don’t expect hymns and candles – this is not a Church Service! The Celebration of Care is about Home Care, for Service Users and for the family members who care for them as well as for Home care workers.

Friday, 4 May 2007

We did it! Home Care are powerful

WOW - what a result, we overturned Keily - Feruk Choudhury was elected in Easton for Labour. In Whitchurch Park, the Labour leader Helen Holland increased her majority. In Southville Labour won by just 6 votes! All were wards targetted in our campaign. Thank you Bristol, people supported us, people know that Home Care matters! The people want their Home Care service publicly owned - BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL, YOU MUST LISTEN.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

We did it! 10,000 supporters in a wheelbarrow!

Yesterday we handed in Bristols biggest ever local petition KEEP BRISTOL HOME CARE. There were 10,000 signatures. We delivered them in a wheelbarrow to present to Bristol's three main political parties.

Leader Barbara Janke (Lib Dem) told the local newsapaper that high quality care was their top priority (that's why they want to privatise it ?!?). Labour leader Helen Holland said: "We have been totally supportive of the carers and the service users, many of whom have contacted us and are very worried. We are doing all we can to support them."Conservative leader Richard Eddy said: "The massive support for this petition demonstrates the genuine concern within the city over the crass and insensitive way in which the Lib Dems have handled the home care issue."Immediately after the elections it is vital that the new council finds a permanent solution and genuinely listens to the trades unions and home care service users."

Today Lib Dems are putting out local election material which says: "Vote Lib Dem to save Home Care - we are not privatising Home Care and that's a promise!"

Politics can be very strange indeed. Anyway, what we have achieved is to have Home Care as the leading local issue in the elections with EVERY party in all wards talking to voters about it in their literature: Greens, Labour, Lib Dem, Tory, Respect. This is unprecedented - we have achieved so much. The days and weeks after the local elections will be critical for our campaign.