Devon County Council today have passed huge cuts to foster care workers’ allowances. The five men on the cabinet laughed in the faces of foster care workers when they passed 35% pay cuts to carers who already earn only 89p an hour. The new pay proposals leave all foster care workers open to abuse and to the whim of services, social workers and managers.

Over the last year DCC have done a ‘consultation’. It was a sham, it was a stitch up. As foster care workers are used to, evidence was falsified and councillors spoke bare faced lies. The decision had already been made, the council were just paying lip service. We have no power in ‘consultations’. However, we do have power in our union.

So foster care workers, this is a call out to everyone to join the union and get organised in your area. Today it was Devon, tomorrow it will be your local authority. In our numbers, we are strong. Divided and isolated, we are weak. If there are no Foster Carers, there is no foster care.

Up until now, foster care workers have not had the courage to stand up and unite. Councils are implementing huge cuts, and they are falling on us because we have not stuck up for ourselves. We have no rights and until two years ago we had no union.

Today was a turning point for the Foster Care Workers Union. Our demonstration was loud and disruptive and we shouted for the first time about how mistreated and abused we have been. We were told they have never seen or heard anything like this in a cabinet meeting. We will not take it any longer. We took our fight to the council, we stood on their steps and told them they do not represent us.

The small DCC cabinet, who have never fostered, have no clue what it is means to be a foster care worker and will never have to live on 69p an hour, made a decision that will impoverish DCC carers. This cabinet has no legitimacy to make decisions about foster care.

We must build our union and recruit all the foster care workers in the UK to force local authorities and IFAs to listen to us. As we grow even bigger, we will force local authorities to collective bargain over our conditions of work.

This is a warning to all other LAs who want to cut allowances for their foster care workers – we will organise, and WE WILL WIN!

One member who attended the demonstration overheard some council workers talking about the demo, they said it was ‘about time’, ‘who would be a foster carer’ and ‘the management are scared’. Yes, as we have been scared of the management for so long, now they must be scared of us. We have power when we are organised and united.