Social Care in the UK is in crisis. All too often care workers are not allowed the time or resources we need to provide care with dignity to the frail and vulnerable within our communities. Scheduled Home Care visits are often too short and too infrequent and Care Homes are understaffed and overstretched. Care workers provide an essential service yet poverty pay and zero hour contracts mean workers often struggle to provide for their own families when they get home. Yet often, care workers are discouraged from working together in an independent trade union to help them raise concerns and improve care quality and working conditions.
Care workers across Greater Manchester & Merseyside are leading the demand for dignity in social care through fair funding, decent jobs, and quality services.
Public pressure for more investment and decent working conditions in social care is growing. In November 2016, UNISON called on the government to invest the £2.4 billion it holds in unallocated business rates in social care.
We are calling on Politicians and Councils in the North West to demand dignity in social care through fair funding, decent jobs, and quality services. We are asking councils to pass the motion below to commit to the principle of fair funding and support the rights of care workers to work together in an independent trade union to protect and promote the vital work they do, and demand quality services and decent jobs.
Enter your details below to write to your local councillor and ask them to support our campaign.
Motion to the Council
Dignity in Social Care - Improving Social Care Services and Jobs
This Council notes with alarm the continuing crisis of social care underfunding that makes it hard for local authorities and provider organisations to ensure decent jobs and quality services.
This Council supports in principle the provisions of UNISON’s ethical care charters for the commissioning of home care and residential care services. The charters provide minimum set of standards in the sector which include requirements that care staff are paid at least the real living wage, on training provision, staffing levels and on improved scheduling of home care visits. The Council intends to implement the charters at the earliest practicable opportunity, recognising that some aspects may require additional funding.
This Council supports the UNISON proposal that £2.4 billion a year in unallocated government held business rates be immediately returned to local authorities through a new social care grant. If this money was distributed using the Better Care Fund formula, councils could invest many millions more in social care than can be achieved through a 6% council tax precept,
This Council welcomes UNISON’s Care Workers for Change campaign initiative and looks forward to an expanded union membership base playing a key role in the public-facing campaign to increase central government funding for social care and in improved employee relations in the sector.
This Council believes that effective workplace union organisation has a key role to play in improving the care sector as:
- Organised staff will have more confidence to speak out and share best practice
- Unions can assist in better monitoring of employment standards in care and through providing high-quality staff training – often free of charge to the employer
- Unionised staff will be better able to share their stories publicly - increasing the effectiveness of campaign work for more central government funding for care
This Council undertakes to encourage care providers that we currently commission, and require care providers that we commission in future to:
1) Respect the right of care staff to organise a union in their workplace and do nothing to undermine the reasonable efforts of staff to organise a union.
2) Allow access to accredited union representatives and officials for membership recruitment activity. Provider organisations should engage positively with union requests for access to staff and, where necessary, agree arrangements that do not disrupt service delivery
3) Pursue a partnership approach to employment relations. We would expect the provider to engage constructively with the union including a recognition and facilities agreement to underpin collective working.
4) Work with the Council and unions to pursue our shared objective of achieving the provisions of the UNISON ethical care charters. This process will necessarily take account of factors including local levels of funding and procurement practices.
The Council will write to all current providers of council-commissioned care services at the earliest opportunity to advise them of our expectation that they will comply positively with the above points (1-4).
I’m demanding Dignity in Social Care through fair funding, decent jobs, and quality services. Please support the Care Workers for Change campaign by backing the council motion “Dignity in Social Care - Improving Social Care Services and Jobs”. You can register your support and keep the campaign team advised of progress in your Constituency / Council at C4C@unison.co.uk