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Dear GMB member
GMB Scotland Wins Landmark Victory For Care Workers Scottish Social Services Council Under Attack For Abuse Of Powers
I have some incredibly important news for you and your fellow care workers. Your union, GMB Scotland, has just achieved an outstanding success on behalf of one of our members, and this victory will have profound consequences for a better working life for hard working professionals in Scotland’s care sector.
GMB Scotland has consistently spoken out about the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and the way it has abused its power with care workers. Where the SSSC have pursued punitive practices that target low paid care workers we’ve responded aggressively in defence of our members’ interests. I am delighted to report that the strength of our union’s approach has resulted in a huge defeat for the SSSC.
In September 2015 a GMB Scotland member in Dundee was hauled before the SSSC over allegations of misconduct but were determined by the SSSC not serious enough to consider imposing a suspension. He continued to work at his care home without incident and was given glowing reports by his employer.
Almost 2 years later, in September 2017, the SSSC took an extraordinary decision refer our member back to the Fitness to Practice Panel on the same allegations of misconduct and at the hearing a Temporary Suspension Order was imposed for a 6 month period. We were staggered by this and GMB Scotland, through our lawyers Unionline Scotland, acted swiftly to lodge a case against the SSSC at Dundee Sheriff Court. We went further and appointed a Queens Council, a very senior lawyer, to represent our member and alongside arguing that the Temporary Suspension Order should be lifted we also sought to expose the routine abuse of power by the SSSC, and their failure to apply their own guidelines in dealing with carers.
This is the first time ever that such a legal challenge has been taken on behalf of a carer in this way. The fantastic news is - WE WON! This is a ground-breaking result for carers across Scotland. Never again will the SSSC be able to abuse their power in the way they have in the past, when dealing with carers.
This case has big implications for the use of Temporary Suspension Orders by the SSSC. These orders are imposed while allegations are being investigated and during this care workers can, and do, lose their livelihood as employers are unable or unwilling to provide alternative employment outside care. A Temporary Suspension Order also prevents carers working in the care sector. The result of this case is that the SSSC must change the way it imposes these orders, or it will once again face defeat.
We all care passionately about standards in care. Just like you as a professional in the care sector, your union GMB Scotland supports good standards and practice in care, and we believe that the SSSC has an important role to play in maintaining standards in care, although we don’t believe the burden of paying for it should fall on low paid workers.
As the lead union in the care sector, we want the highest standards and that means care professionals being treated with dignity and respect. We will not stand by and allow the care regulator to abuse their power, and with it our members. As a member of GMB Scotland you have access to the very best legal support if you are dragged in front of the SSSC and a Fitness to Practice Panel. And as member of GMB Scotland you are part of a union that is fighting day in day out on behalf of carers.
If you experience any issues at work that require the support and assistance of your union please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if any of your colleagues are not protected by union membership, please put them in touch with me.
Care workers are skilled, professional people who deserve better. As this victory shows, members of GMB Scotland can be assured you have a union that will never stop fighting for this and defending your interests, always.
GMB Scotland Secretary
The demands on workers across Scotland’s private care sector will continue to grow.
Over the next 25 years, the number of people aged 75 and over will increase by 86 per cent.The number of people requiring some form of care will increase by two-thirds over the same period.
GMB Scotland believes that the role of care sector workers should be viewed as a skilled profession but the reality is different:
Workers are undervalued – many are paid less than your public sector equivalents
Workers are unrecognised– many are not covered by a collective agreement
Workers are unsupported– many are at the mercy of unfair SSSC investigations
GMB Scotland has campaigned hard to deliver a living wage of £8.25 an hour for carers but there is still much to do to increase the terms and conditions of all workers in the sector, including ancillary and domestic staff. We can’t raise standards by leaving others behind.
That’s why we are arguing for a sector-wide deal for Scottish care, where every worker is covered by a collective agreement that brings employers, government, the Care Inspectorate and trade unions to the table.
GMB Scotland wants to tell the real story of work in Scotland’s private care sector and why we need a new deal for the future sustainability of jobs, pay and services across the industry.
Help us tell your story by completing our campaign survey, sign our petition to help make SSSC investigations fairer and get in touch with our GMB Scotland Organisers to learn more about what you can do to show the country that ‘I Care’.