Restore Care Workers Rights To Be Paid The National Minimum Wage

by John Patrick Shannon

Restore Care Workers Rights To Be Paid The National Minimum Wage

by John Patrick Shannon
John Patrick Shannon
Case Owner
I am 68 years of age: An ex-Care Worker of some twenty years experience; before that I worked within the print industry. Currently campaigning for #awakeonasleepin.
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John Patrick Shannon
Case Owner
I am 68 years of age: An ex-Care Worker of some twenty years experience; before that I worked within the print industry. Currently campaigning for #awakeonasleepin.
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Who am I?

I am a 68-year-old man, currently a pensioner who has worked hard all his life. I am an ex-care worker with two decades' experience.  I have spent the last five years fighting for the right to be paid the National Minimum Wage and recently been campaigning with the #awakeonasleepin group.

Terms of employment

I was employed as a live-in on-call (sleep-in) care worker and the hours of work were 8.45pm until 7.00am. I also had to be present for the handover at 8.30pm each evening. I worked seven days a week and fifty two weeks of the year and I was not given paid holidays.

I believe that care workers should be paid at least the national minimum wage for "sleep-in shifts", and I’m willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court to fight for this.

 What winning this case would achieve

Firstly, it would force the government into amending the national minimum wage regulations. As it stands the national minimum wage isn't really a 'minimum wage' when bosses can discriminate against a "certain type" of low paid worker and make an excuse not to pay them the minimum wage for whatever reason. Social care jobs are mainly done by women, who are also feeling the brunt of austerity and cuts across the country. 

Secondly, it may change the government's direction on funding for the social care sector, which is at present wholly inadequate.

Thirdly but not least importantly, it could even lead to proper care for the millions of elderly, disabled and children who rely on live-in care work.

Background to the case

It began in January 2013. After nearly 20 years of working for the same employer as an on-call live-in care assistant in a Residential Care Home the business was transferred to a new owner and placed under TUPE regulations.

(TUPE refers to the "Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006" as amended by the "Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014". Basically it means that workers' rights and contracts are protected in the event that a business is sold or taken over by a new owner and they should be able to continue to work under the same contracts and conditions that they had under the previous management).

Before the new owners' tenure tensions were mounting due to enforced signings of two contracts of employment and other documents. Following the takeover my terms and conditions were altered insomuch that I had no option other than to put in a number of grievance letters to my employer. These complaints included health and safety regulations, threat of deduction from wages, non-payment of the National Minimum Wage, no paid holidays and a few other matters. After a lengthy and protracted grievance procedure I was unfairly dismissed, evicted on the last day of employment and made homeless on the 1st of January 2014.

 I took the employer to the Employment Tribunal (2014) and won the unfair dismissal claim. However, confusingly, this left me with no compensation and did not address the other matters. This was no real help as the new owners were not going to give me my job back and at my age I knew I was unlikely to find another job. I appealed their decisions (at the Employment Appeals Tribunal 2015) regarding the non-payment of the National Minimum Wage and non-payment of holidays and lost on both claims.

The next step was to make an application to the Court of Appeal but this was refused. We were told however that it was still possible to make a 20/30 minute verbal application instead of a full written application. It was decided by my legal team that given the length of time we would have to put our arguments that we would have to drop the claim for non-payment of holidays and only appeal on the NMW claim. The appeal was granted in early 2017 but it was another year before the hearing commenced on the 20/21st of March 2018 at the Royal Courts of Justice.

My case at the Court of Appeal (Shannon v Rampersad) was heard alongside another worker Ms Claire Tomlinson-Blake (a support worker backed by Unison) v Mencap Charity.

Two separate bodies, Care England and the Local Government Association intervened on behalf of the employers. The judgement was handed down on the 13th of July 2018 in favour of the employers and we were both denied the NMW. The judgement was aptly named by the media as the 'Mencap Ruling'. I have since made an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The result of the application should be forthcoming in the New Year.

Aims and expenses that crowdfunding will cover 

The aim is to continue the fight to be paid the National Minimum Wage through to the Supreme Court and beyond if necessary. The crowd funding will cover the liabilities in the event of losing and also cover the respondents' legal fees. My team has estimated future Supreme Court costs of around £110,000.

To continue the fight without any backing I need support in the form of contributions and for people to share this campaign page to as many people as possible.

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