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.