It first began as a rumour, I heard that we’d be getting back pay for all the sleep ins that we’d done up to the last six years! It turned out it wasn’t a rumour, it was true!
We were all going to get back pay for up to the last six years, as our hourly wages were SO low, I’d misunderstood and had thought it was because of that, but no, some very brave Person had taken their Company to court to say, “Why should I only get paid £30 for a sleep in, when I’m at work 24 hours away from my family without proper breaks, and at the drop of a hat I have to jump out of bed and see to the crisis that is happening outside the bedroom, my sleep in is from 10pm until 8am, I should get paid for the ten hours that I’m still at work, by the hour, instead of the measly £30.”
That brave Soul took their Company to court and won! It was a great victory for the underdogs who slave away with poo, vomit, violence this includes hair pulling, spitting, scratching you, punching you and getting away with it, mental health, doing personal care, cleaning, teaching, helping, caring, sleepless nights, bad backs lifting, cooking and much more! All for £7 an hour £8 if you’re lucky!
For years Staff have talked about it but no one where I worked did anything about it, and after the Courts passed the Law that all Care Workers would get their back pay for the ten hours a night they had done and had not got paid by the hour for it, we all had an email, to tell us the good news, “You will get your back pay for all the sleep ins you have done going back six years, for ten hours for each sleep in, you will get this money in your bank account before the last day in December 2018A.D.
A work colleague who hasn’t worked as many years as myself and less than six years she worked out she would get £4,000 so I was expecting more! I’d done many over the last six years, faithfully even covering for those who didn’t want to come in due to, can’t be bothered as they had a hangover or were genuinely ill.
As I started to get disillusioned with the Company of the my lack of money that was owed me for my ten years’ service, which is a £100 gift voucher and £200 vouchers for twenty years’ service, they refused to give me this total of £300 vouchers as they said, at their request I’d worked at another site, helping them out for as long as I was needed there the same Company, but doing then a favour it meant I was not at the original, continuous site for ten years, so it didn’t count! So, although I’ve worked for them for twenty-five years, they have on my wage slip that I joined the Company nine years ago, so now sadly I do not go over and beyond! To make matters worse, they say on our internal internet that after twenty years we get three extra days holiday a year! I asked for mine and was told, “No you have only worked for us nine years.” Its painful, for I am only a small fry to them. With the thousands of Staff who work at my Company all over the United Kingdom, I did wonder how many were like me, forgotten, left behind, unappreciated, ignored etc. looking on our intranet wouldn’t help for we like me was not on there!
I did manage to speak to an important person this year when we went to an event far away, she’d told me after I’d told her my story, “A good friend of mine, she didn’t her £100 voucher and she was gutted…. “It’s sad, but it’s good to know there are other unsung Heroes out there, who are hurting, and disappointed too, the Company has let them down, past them by. Staff has told me, “You should take them to court!” I say, “No, I’ll let others fight this battle, I’m done fighting,” For because of me, I’ve changed a whole section of the Company for things, that were wrong, I fought and got it changed, this included extra money for certain Staff, forever! In the Company, my name is known at the Top, downwards! All the Directors know me.
So, at first when I’d heard about the sleep in by the hour I’d thought it was from a Staff from our greedy Company, as we get peanuts and they get thousands for each Resident per week! Yes, that’s right, per week! We do the hard work and those above us benefit, so I was glad that now they had to pay us back! If only it was for the last twenty-five years! I’d retire and go to Malta and visit all the TKMaxx’s in the United Kingdom! Having cleared my debts first of course and finish off the few years left to pay of my mortgage.
There was excitement in the air, as we all talked about it, and what some would do with the money, “Home improvements,” “Much needed holiday,” “Pay off the car,” “Finally get the garden done,” Majority was clear their debts mine was mentioned above.
Early this year soon after the Law was passed I was out with a Resident and someone came over to me and started chatting to me, she too was a Care Worker, she told me, “My company has given us all our back-pay sleep ins as soon as the Law was passed,” She told me the amount, it was thousands and thousands of pounds! I told her, sadly our Company said they will pay us our monies before the last day in December this year, for that was what the Courts had given them as a dead line, we’ve not been given a date.”
What our Company did do though was give us a top up after we’d got paid, from the Courts ruling, so a few days after we’d got paid, for the sleep ins that we had done, so it worked out as our current rate of pay, we’d get paid the difference to make it up to ten hours per night, per sleep in, by now I didn’t do that many sleeps in, but some Staff like doing as many as they can, as it tops up their basic pay, but even that was frowned on, as the company, recently said, “You are not allowed to do a certain amount of sleep ins,” Which is silly, for why stop Staff volunteering to cover if a Staff is sick, when no one else wants to do it! The Company went on to say, “If you go over the amount of sleep ins, you will not be paid for it.”
So, another Company took the Court, to court, to say, “Why should we pay the sleep in Staff to sleep! So, to our horror, the Court agreed with that Company, and all other Company’s didn’t need to pay-out for the sleeping’s!”
We were all gutted! We all have Review Meetings on a one to one basis with our Manager, I told my Manager, “I am disappointed that we didn’t get our pay-out,” She said, “They were all set to pay everyone in October, for all of their back-pay sleep ins, then the Courts gave their rulings.” And now they don’t have to pay, we all had letters come to our home saying the same thing. But a Staff Member told me yesterday, “It is not totally final, we could still get our money, as yet another Company according to Unison is still trying to get the back pay, its gone to a higher Court,” I reminded her what it said in our letter, “We’re now under no obligation to pay you now,” So she is still hopeful, deflated, fed up, depressed, that we will still get our money. She also said, “We didn’t get a rise this year, because of the back pay,” And added, I wonder if those who have been given the back pay, will have to pay it back” I told her, “I don’t think they will have to pay it back”.
The only ‘good’ thing now is, it’s not just ‘small fry’ like myself who have been denied our £300 vouchers for twenty years’ service, but the bigger fishes are all dis- grumped now, she said to me, “Everyone should refuse to do sleep ins then they would have to give us our money.” I told her, “I wouldn’t do that.”