Win Employment Rights for Foster Care Workers

by IWGB Trade Union

Win Employment Rights for Foster Care Workers

by IWGB Trade Union
IWGB Trade Union
Case Owner
We are the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain, the leading union for precarious workers, having campaigned and taken cases out against big names such as Uber and Deliveroo
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pledged of £20,000 stretch target from 177 pledges
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IWGB Trade Union
Case Owner
We are the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain, the leading union for precarious workers, having campaigned and taken cases out against big names such as Uber and Deliveroo
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Foster carers perform a vital function in our society. They share their homes and dedicate their time to house and take care of vulnerable children and teenagers. They normally sign an agreement setting out what they have to do, are strictly supervised, and paid for their work but have no employment rights.  Importantly, they are not protected against detriment for whistleblowing, meaning speaking out on behalf of a child could lead to dismissal.

In August 2017, Jimmy and Christine Johnstone, won their employment tribunal claim against  Glasgow City Council, establishing them as employees. But Glasgow CC is now appealing the decision.

The IWGB is raising funds in order to provide a full legal defense against Glasgow’s appeal and secure the employment rights Jimmy and Christine have already won.

Case Background

Jimmy and Christine worked for a highly specialised therapeutic foster care scheme. Glasgow CC exercised a large degree of control over them, such as requiring them to make daily calls to supervisors for progress reports and requiring a sign-off from the council whenever they bought any furniture. 

The trigger moment occurred when the Johnstones raised concerns with the council about a child who put their lives at risk. They felt unsafe and reported it to their supervisors but this was met with a wall of silence and the refusal to take their concerns seriously.

Following this, the Johnstone's found themselves left out of meetings with other foster carers in the group and their entitlement to time off was removed. 


This isn't only about Jimmy and Christine

Their story will resonate with many foster carers across the UK who are reluctant to speak against a structure stacked against them. Local authorities and Independent Fostering Agencies can act with complete impunity; the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain has reported multiple instances where councils subtly change foster carers’ words before hearings which will determine their ability to foster.

The end result is a culture of apprehension, where foster carers can lose their livelihoods by speaking out and asking for much needed support for children in their care.

Winning this appeal will establish an important precedent which will pave the way to establishing employment rights for more foster care workers in future cases.

How much are we raising and why? 

Please donate to Jimmy and Christine’s case to allow them to continue to access the justice they have been denied for far too long. We are raising an initial £4,000 that will towards the lawyers for the case, barrister Aidan O'Neill QC and solicitors Balfour Mansons.

Any unused funds will go towards the IWGB legal department so we can take out similar cases in the future.

Any help is massively appreciated and we thank you for your donation.

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