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Care home strike leader wins trade union victimisation claim

A CARE home worker won a legal battle today after suffering shocking victimisation for recruiting colleagues into a union and helping organise a successful strike.

An employment tribunal ruled that Bella Ruiz was victimised by bosses at Sage nursing home in north London, where she persuaded more than 30 workers to join the United Voices of the World union (UVW).

She led walkout over poverty pay, a lack of protective equipmet and appalling working conditions at the height of the pandemic.

Instead of being acclaimed as a “hero” like other front-line key workers during the pandemic, she was subjected to a “union-busting witch-hunt” and “a culture of intimidation,” the tribunal in Watford heard.

She is now demanding an apology from her employers.

UVW legal caseworker Simon Bennett said: “This outcome represents a vindication for Bella and a reminder to all that organising a workplace is a legally protected activity which managers are not entitled to object to or interfere with.

“All of UVW’s members should take heart.”

General secretary Petros Elia said: “What Bella suffered at Sage nursing home was nothing short of disgraceful.

“The trustees have finally been held to account for overseeing and allowing such grotesque union-busting to take place on their watch of key workers who were merely exercising basic fundamental human rights to strike for a living wage.

“We now call on the trustees to issue a full apology to Bella, a migrant worker from Colombia who dared to stand up, speak up and fight back.”

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