Monday, 2 May 2016
Pay all care workers living wage, says UNISON
UNISON manifesto Social Care in Scotland is launched today (Monday 2 May) (See on website)
Improving the quality of care means seriously addressing workforce issues, the most important of which is pay. Despite the introduction of the Chancellor’s new UK ‘Living’ Wage which sets an hourly rate of £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over, many employers do not pay for time to travel between visits or make other cuts to terms and conditions. UNISON believes that all providers should be required to pay the Scottish Living Wage (currently £8.25 in Scotland) through the procurement process.
Fair pay is only one aspect of fair work and quality care. UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter and subsequent report “Scotland – It’s Time to Care” highlighted unfair conditions of service, such as lack of training and induction, working on zero-hours or nominal hours contracts and lack of time to care properly, which all adds to stress on the workforce. There is also a need to ensure that adequate travel time, travel costs and other expenses, such as mobile phones to ensure workers’ safety are properly provided to the staff.
Stephen Smellie, UNISON Scotland vice convenor said, ‘Social care plays a vital and growing role in our society. Increasing demand, falling real terms funding and increasingly complex care needs has put the sector under significant strain. We need a social care system that can meet the requirements of our ageing population and we therefore, need to invest in the workforce that provides it’
‘All social care is delivered by people, whether informal carers or care workers, they are not robots. Care workers have strong views about the quality of care they want to deliver and their lack of ability to do it. They are still coping with 15 minute visits which are rarely adequate. Staff should be able to spend enough time with their clients and improve the quality of care they can provide.’