By Democrat reporter
Yesterday in the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Labour tabled an amendment to raise the pay of all social care workers to £15 an hour through a staged process that would deliver an immediate increase in pay to £12 an hour.
Speaking in the Holyrood chamber, Scottish Labour interim leader and finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “Presiding Officer, let me turn to those who are being most let down by this budget, and the people who are the subject of Labour’s amendment today – social care workers.
“These workers – who looked after some of our most vulnerable people during the pandemic – were applauded by us all during the first lockdown. Every week we stood and clapped for them. Now they deserve more than our praise – they deserve a raise.
“The budget as it stands today has no provision for a pay increase for social care workers beyond the living wage. Social care workers are mostly women, they are low paid and many have to work more than one job to make ends meet. During the pandemic, they were putting themselves at risk and dealing with death on a daily basis.
“And the truth is they were badly let down by the Government. They were let down in the provision of PPE. They were let down by a lack of guidance. They were let down by the routine discharge of patients with COVID from hospitals to care homes. A decision that created a wave of deaths that many had to face each and every day they went to their work.
“It is unacceptable that we should be asking people to do these jobs for poverty pay. That is why we have laid a reasoned amendment backing the GMB’s call for £15 an hour for social care workers. This is not just about a fair pay for a day’s work: it is fundamentally about decency and dignity.
“We cannot and we should not expect people to do some of the most demanding jobs in our society for poverty pay. The Coronavirus crisis has opened the public’s eyes to the work social care workers do. It is not just the workers, their unions and those of us on these benches who are demanding action: it is the public who want to see them rewarded.”
Top picture: West Dunbartonshire Council is forever looking for care workers, but pay rates are deterrent to people taking up these important jobs.