Local care workers go through Hell for less than £10 an hour

By Bill Heaney

Jackie Baillie, the MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Loch Lomondside, along with the GMB trade union, has called on the Scottish Government to commit to ensuring better pay and working conditions for care workers in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Social care workers, both within care homes and around the community, have served on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than half of all Covid-19 deaths in Scotland have occurred in residential care homes. More than 100 have happened in West Dunbartonshire.

Jackie Baillie has repeatedly raised concerns regarding the lack of PPE for care workers, the lack of testing for care home staff and residents and the movement of staff from one care home to another, potentially spreading the virus.

The MSP said:  “Our care homes have become the epicentre of the virus and social care sector workers are truly at the very front of the frontline.

“These key workers have had to continue to protect the most vulnerable in our society against a deadly virus with none of the support needed to protect themselves and others.

“The number of serious issues that have arisen in care homes in my constituency is cause for grave concern and have undoubtedly led to a number of deaths of residents and care staff themselves.

“It is only right that the Scottish Government commits to better pay and improvements to social care working conditions to recognise the service that these workers continue to provide. Many social care settings have long had unacceptable working environments and some employers use agency staff or those employed on zero hour contracts. Now is the time to end this employment practice once and for all.”

Kirsty Nimmo, GMB Scotland Organiser (Private Care) said:  “Social care has been the crisis within the crisis, care home staff in particular have been let down by a lack of preparedness and a lack of support.

“GMB Scotland has campaigned for basic protections for all care workers like PPE, testing and sick pay but the truth is that no one deserves a decent pay rise more. 

“After the applause is over on a Thursday evening, care workers return to low paid and so-called low skilled work. This crisis must give way to a transformation in the value of care work, this starts with a pay rise of at least £2 an hour for all social care staff.

“Over the past few months, many care workers, predominately women, have been put through hell for less than £10 an hour but thousands are joining GMB Scotland and demanding change.

“Their message to all care workers is join the union and join our campaign for proper protections and decent pay in care.”

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