Wednesday, 24 June 2009

No bed of roses: UNISON care workers demand minimum wage for sleepovers

Wed 24 June 2009

Voluntary sector care workers in Glasgow will demand an end to illegal poverty pay for sleepovers in a petition to be handed to the City Council tomorrow (Thursday 25 June).

UNISON Scotland, the union which represents the care workers, accuses voluntary sector employers of breaking the spirit of minimum wage legislation by using an averaging approach to undercut workers' pay. UNISON wants Glasgow City Council, which contracts the care services, to hold employers to their requirement in law to pay the National Minimum Wage for every hour worked on a sleepover.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON Scotland Regional Organiser for the voluntary sector, said:
"Sleepovers are no bed of roses. When staff are required to sleep over to care for clients, they are working. They can't leave the premises; they are on instant call, and they are often disturbed many times during the night to support vulnerable clients. They often have to deal with volatile situations. Yet employers continue to pay less than the minimum wage."

The petition of over 400 signatures has been gathered mainly from UNISON care workers in the city's voluntary sector. It will be handed to Glasgow City Council tomorrow (Thursday 25 June).

The petition calls directly on voluntary sector employers to pay the National Minimum Wage rate for sleepovers. It also calls on Glasgow City Council to insist, as part of its anti-poverty strategy, that all organisations it contracts with to provide care services should pay the legal rate for sleepovers, and fund this accordingly.

Simon Macfarlane added:
"Our members provide care and support with commitment, professionalism and dedication to some of the most vulnerable in the city, yet they are rewarded with poverty pay. It's time for the employers and the City Council to care for the carers."



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