Skip Navigation | Sheffield IMC | UK IMC | Editorial Guidelines | Mission Statement | About Us | Contact | Help | Support Us

UK Indymedia UK Indymedia Sheffield Indymedia Sheffield Indymedia

Crisis in Care: Interview with an anarchist support worker

The Fargate Speaker | 31.01.2011 20:57 | Health | Public sector cuts | Workers' Movements | Sheffield

The Fargate Speaker talks to a local support worker about the problems in social care as a result of the recession and the proposed austerity measures.

I work as a support worker for a private company that provides social care for people in Sheffield for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues. The company I work operates across the city. According to government officials, cuts to public spending will not harm front line services, workers, or service users. The reality of the situation is that working conditions are getting worse, day services are closing down, and those paying for the support services are being excluded from any of the decisions relating to care they supposedly direct and influence.

The Sheffield city council budget has been slashed by 8.35% for next year, and this has amounted to a huge cut to front line care. What this has amounted to on the ground is a huge reduction in staffing levels, pushing local unemployment even higher. Those left in the job are left with the unenviable task of filling in the gaps, which means being over worked, and stressed. Many care workers, some with over 20 years experience, are finding it too stressful to carry on, and are walking away from the job, meaning that the most qualified staff in the company are leaving, while new employees, who often aren’t given a decent (and legally required) level of training before they are left to work with clients. This is dangerous to both clients, who often have serious health issues, and to workers, who are not given help to do the job safely (some clients have histories of challenging behaviour, violence etc)

Many of the people I work with have been sent into intense panic, fearing that their disability benefits will be cut and that they will be forced onto a work fare scheme in order to claim. This has led to increased difficulties at work, which again impacts upon the well being of clients and staff. For staff, we have been given an indefinite pay freeze (rates of pay are already extremely low – and the price of food, bills, rent etc has risen fairly sharply in recent months) and a loss of a chance of promotion and advancement within the company. The tactics of management have in recent weeks been an attempt to shift responsibility downwards. In essence, this means an unpaid promotion – increased work hours and responsibilities without extra pay. People are worried, and the constant upheavals in company policy leave staff and clients confused. Many people within the company care deeply about the people they support, and the fact that they are leaving is causing massive emotional stress on all sides.

The company I work for claims to be not-for-profit, this tends to give people the impression that the company operates with some kind of ethical policy. The reality is that instead of money being invested in desperately needed equipment for staff (such as computers that are less than a decade old) instead money has been spent on redecorating the offices of the executive managers and the reception area of the company (in order to make it ‘look more professional’ – the appearance of good care being more easily achieved than the practice of good care).

The company has also engaged in the bizarre tactic of employing agency staff to work as short term “bank workers” in order to plug the gaps created by the redundancies they have introduced. This means that for every worker the company gets from an agency they are paying for two (agencies charge ‘service rates’ which are roughly the same as the employees wages). Essentially this means that the company is firing experienced and dedicated workers to employ untrained and short term agency workers, while paying double the cost for the privilege. The reasons behind this plan seem fairly obvious. Agency workers are in a precarious position, and if they complain about being over worked, and under paid then they can be fired with no notice, whereas an employee cannot. The changes that management want to bring in over the next few months require a work force that does not feel secure, and able to resist the exploitation that is happening.

The Fargate Speaker
- e-mail: fargatespeaker@gmail.com
- Homepage: http://thefargatespeaker.wordpress.com

Download this article in pdf format >>

Email this article to someone >>

Submit an addition or make a quick comment on this article >>

Comments

Display the following 4 comments

  1. with you except.... — b
  2. @ b — anarchist care worker
  3. contradiction — marc
  4. @ Marc — anarchist care worker

Publish

Publish your news

Do you need help with publishing?

Kollektives

Birmingham
Cambridge
Liverpool
London
Oxford
Sheffield
South Coast
Wales
World

Other UK IMCs
Bristol/South West
London
Northern Indymedia
Scotland

Sheffield Topics

Afghanistan
Analysis
Animal Liberation
Anti-Nuclear
Anti-militarism
Anti-racism
Bio-technology
Climate Chaos
Culture
Ecology
Education
Energy Crisis
Fracking
Free Spaces
Gender
Globalisation
Health
History
Indymedia
Iraq
Migration
Ocean Defence
Other Press
Palestine
Policing
Public sector cuts
Repression
Social Struggles
Technology
Terror War
Workers' Movements
Zapatista

Sheffield [navigation.actions2016]

Sheffield [navigation.actions2015]

Sheffield [navigation.actions2014]

NATO 2014

Sheffield Actions 2013

G8 2013

Sheffield Actions 2012

Workfare

Sheffield Actions 2011

2011 Census Resistance
August Riots
Dale Farm
J30 Strike
Occupy Everywhere

Sheffield Actions 2010

Flotilla to Gaza
Mayday 2010
Tar Sands

Sheffield Actions 2009

COP15 Climate Summit 2009
G20 London Summit
Guantánamo
Indymedia Server Seizure
University Occupations for Gaza

Sheffield Actions 2008

2008 Days Of Action For Autonomous Spaces
Campaign against Carmel-Agrexco
Climate Camp 2008
G8 Japan 2008
SHAC
Smash EDO
Stop Sequani Animal Testing
Stop the BNP's Red White and Blue festival

Sheffield Actions 2007

Climate Camp 2007
DSEi 2007
G8 Germany 2007
Mayday 2007
No Border Camp 2007

Sheffield Actions 2006

April 2006 No Borders Days of Action
Art and Activism Caravan 2006
Climate Camp 2006
Faslane
French CPE uprising 2006
G8 Russia 2006
Lebanon War 2006
March 18 Anti War Protest
Mayday 2006
Oaxaca Uprising
Refugee Week 2006
Rossport Solidarity
SOCPA
Transnational Day of Action Against Migration Controls
WSF 2006

Sheffield Actions 2005

DSEi 2005
G8 2005
WTO Hong Kong 2005

Sheffield Actions 2004

European Social Forum
FBI Server Seizure
May Day 2004
Venezuela

Sheffield Actions 2003

Bush 2003
DSEi 2003
Evian G8
May Day 2003
No War F15
Saloniki Prisoner Support
Thessaloniki EU
WSIS 2003

Server Appeal Radio Page Video Page Indymedia Cinema Offline Newsheet

insecure Unencrypted Page

We suggest you use an encrypted connection encrypted connection for browsing this site.

Please install the CAcert root certificate to verify the authenticity of the site, for more information see the security page.

IMCs


www.indymedia.org

Projects
print
radio
satellite tv
video

Africa

Europe
antwerpen
armenia
athens
austria
barcelona
belarus
belgium
belgrade
brussels
bulgaria
calabria
croatia
cyprus
emilia-romagna
estrecho / madiaq
galiza
germany
grenoble
hungary
ireland
istanbul
italy
la plana
liege
liguria
lille
linksunten
lombardia
madrid
malta
marseille
nantes
napoli
netherlands
northern england
nottingham imc
paris/île-de-france
patras
piemonte
poland
portugal
roma
romania
russia
sardegna
scotland
sverige
switzerland
torun
toscana
ukraine
united kingdom
valencia

Latin America
argentina
bolivia
chiapas
chile
chile sur
cmi brasil
cmi sucre
colombia
ecuador
mexico
peru
puerto rico
qollasuyu
rosario
santiago
tijuana
uruguay
valparaiso
venezuela

Oceania
aotearoa
brisbane
burma
darwin
jakarta
manila
melbourne
perth
qc
sydney

South Asia
india


United States
arizona
arkansas
asheville
atlanta
Austin
binghamton
boston
buffalo
chicago
cleveland
colorado
columbus
dc
hawaii
houston
hudson mohawk
kansas city
la
madison
maine
miami
michigan
milwaukee
minneapolis/st. paul
new hampshire
new jersey
new mexico
new orleans
north carolina
north texas
nyc
oklahoma
philadelphia
pittsburgh
portland
richmond
rochester
rogue valley
saint louis
san diego
san francisco
san francisco bay area
santa barbara
santa cruz, ca
sarasota
seattle
tampa bay
united states
urbana-champaign
vermont
western mass
worcester

West Asia
Armenia
Beirut
Israel
Palestine

Topics
biotech

Process
fbi/legal updates
mailing lists
process & imc docs
tech