A critical issue for the labour movement is the use of zero hours contracts by unscrupulous employers, which enable them to guarantee no regular hours of work. This leaves their workers living dreadfully precarious lives, living from week to week without knowing what their pay cheque might look like. We are delighted to receive this report from Malcolm Jones of North West SWAN, who, along with other social workers and home care workers has been on the picket line supporting Hovis workers in their dispute against Premier Foods. There have been two rounds of strikes - while the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union are now in talks (as of 19th September 2013) with bosses about their use of zero hours contracts - a third round of strikes is planned if no resolution is found. SWAN National Steering Committee offers their full support and solidarity.

'Hovis workers in Wigan are taking action over zero contracts. This is about all of us, particularly in social care, where Unison reports several thousand privatized care workers are on Zero Hours contracts.

It is also about the most vulnerable who need care and support who do not have consistency of carers. It means often numerous strangers walking through the door often agency workers who do not get a chance to form a bond with people.

Agency workers should be paid decent rate and have permanent contracts as should all care workers, and if the work is there then, there should be permanent jobs and no need for agency.

Hovis workers through mass picketing are on strike for all of us - their struggle is our struggle, the pictures show pickets stopping lorries from leaving the factory with chants such as 'the workers united will never be defeated'.

Being with them on the picket line has been an inspiration. The Hovis workers know that this is about everyone including Unison and care workers. Pictures tell their own story.

Home carers and social workers have been on the picket line. The lorries were being driven by managers brought in from other parts of the country the mass pickets stopped most of the deliveries.'


  • Mental Health Charter: submission on inpatient adult psychiatric care

SWAN supporters will already be familiar with the SWAN endorsed Mental Health Charter which was launched in 2014. The Charter critiques the crisis in mental health services in the context of austerity and calls for an end to the cuts while proposing radical alternatives. Recently the Mental Health Charter responded to the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Independent Commission into the state of Inpatient Adult Psychiatric Care as part of its call for evidence.

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