As care workers, we have been at the forefront of the struggle against COVID-19. We have put ourselves at risk to provide care and support to vulnerable service users.
We appreciate the applause from members of the public, but unless social care receives proper investment and respect, we remain undervalued, underappreciated and underpaid.
To enable us to continue giving exceptional care, we need proper pay and decent conditions that properly reflect our position as key workers. We need action after the applause.
As care workers, we are calling on local councils and other commissioners of social care to:
Never again should care workers have to choose between our own health or hardship. We need proper sick pay to prevent the spread of infections to service users.
Care workers are underpaid and undervalued, creating a crisis of staff recruitment and retention. We need a pay rise and guaranteed hours - all care workers should be paid a starting salary of at least £10 per hour with pay progression. Travel time, holiday and sleep-in shifts should be paid at the appropriate full hourly rate.
Listen to Us
Care workers must have a say in how services are run - we are the experts. Our voices should be heard through recognised trade unions.
There are too many unethical and unaccountable social care providers – many ignore minimum commissioning standards and drive down standards to take a profit from limited public funding. To guarantee quality care, we need to re-assess how social care is delivered to ensure it has parity with the NHS and local councils.
We are asking councillors within local authorities that commission social care to support frontline care workers by taking the following action:
1. Can you please confirm that you will review your social value commissioning to ensure that providers are required to:
a) Pay occupational sick pay from the first day of absence, and at a rate and for a duration that allows staff to stay away from work when they are ill.
b) Pay holiday, sleep-ins and travel-time at the appropriate full hourly rate.
c) Pay £10 per hour as a minimum starting salary End the use of zero hour contracts and ensure that staff can have contractual hours that reflect the actual hours that they regularly work.
d) Recognise and negotiate with trade unions.
2. Will you please join the Stand Up For Social Care Councillors’ Network to strengthen social value commissioning and develop an alternative model of social care that will be delivered in-house and that will put workers and service-users before private profit?
Please write to your council to ask them to Stand Up For Social Care.
You can Stand Up For Social Care, here's how:
1) Write to your local councillors.
2) Share the write to your councillor tool with your friends/family/colleagues.
3) Are you a care worker? Join UNISON.
4) Are you a councillor? Join our Stand Up For Social Care councillors network.
5) Are you a care worker? Join our Stand Up For Social Care Facebook Group.
Stand Up for Sleep-in Pay
On 19 March 2021, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that care workers’ sleep-in shifts do not count as working time and do not need to be paid in line with the National Minimum Wage.
The decision is an insult to care workers who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic – and we’re concerned that some employers will now use this as an opportunity to cut our sleep-in rates.
As care workers, we’re calling on North West commissioning councils to Stand up for Sleep-in Pay to ensure that care workers get the pay we deserve.
Many of us are regularly required to undertake sleep-ins away from our home and our families. We are deployed at our workplace, we are under the direction of our employer and we could be disciplined if we leave during the night.
There’s no way we can get proper rest. We always have to be alert to attend to the needs of the people we care for. This could be providing medication and medical treatment, helping them to the toilet, or calming them down when they are distressed.
It’s an insult to be told that we’re not even worth the national minimum wage for this work – and so we need local councillors and commissioning authorities to support us and Stand Up for Sleep-in Pay by committing to the following pledges:
- Protecting sleep-in rates to ensure no commissioned providers cut sleep-in pay
- Increasing funding where required to allow sleep-ins to be paid at the full hourly rate of pay
- Requiring all providers to pay the full hourly rate for sleep-ins via commissioning and service specifications
Councillors and Commissioning Authorities – If you are a local councillor or commissioning authority in the North West, please confirm your commitment to Stand Up for Sleep-in Pay via email to Bob Brown ([email protected]). You can also download a copy of our pledge card and post a photo on social media. Please copy in our campaign Twitter @StandUpForSC and use the hashtag #StandUpforSleepIns. We'll add any photos to this web pages.
Care Workers – you can Stand Up for Sleep-in Pay by:
- Write to your local councillor. You can find your councillors’ contact details here. If you need further help finding your councillors or would like help writing an email to them, please contact [email protected]
- Sign the petition calling on the Prime Minister to legislate to ensure sleep-ins are paid at least the minimum wage.
- Join the Stand Up for Social Care Facebook group.
- Be prepared to stand up for your sleep-in pay– contact your UNISON branch immediately if your employer attempts to change your sleep-in pay or hours.
We may have lost in the courts – but we must continue to fight for the respect and pay we deserve.
AFG in Rochdale: We demand a Living Wage now!
One Borough. One Job. One Payrate.
As care workers, we have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to support some of Rochdale’s most vulnerable residents.
To reward our dedication, Rochdale Council have offered increased funding to social care employers so they can pay us the Foundation Living Wage (£9.50 per hour).
Unfortunately, our employer Alternative Futures Group (AFG) have refused the funding increase and are continuing to pay us the National Minimum Wage (£8.91).
The additional funding offered by Rochdale Council is 80p per hour and is more than enough to cover the 59p required to increase our wages to the Foundation Living Wage. After all our dedication and commitment during the pandemic, we believe the Foundation Living Wage is the very least we deserve.
We call on AFG to accept the funding increase from Rochdale Council and give us an immediate uplift in pay to the Foundation Living Wage.
What you can do?
- If you are employed by AFG within Rochdale, please complete UNISON’s open letter to AFG. The letter will only be sent to AFG when a majority of our members have signed. Sign the open letter here.
- Take a photo with our pledge card, share on social media, Twitter - @StandUpForSC and Facebook - @StandUpForSocialCare and send to [email protected].