GMB Scotland at STUC: Pause National Care Service plan to protect services and staff
The Scottish Government must pause plans for a National Care Service (NCS) to safeguard services and staff, GMB Scotland told the STUC.
Annette Drylie, who led the union’s delegation at Congress, said the plans for the care service must be suspended to allow the voice of staff, mostly women and low-paid, to be heard.
She urged the Scottish Government to pause its NCS bill saying the plan must have more detail, be drafted in discussion with staff and include a minimum wage of £15 an hour for social carers and a proportionate rise for other staff.
Drylie told delegates in Dundee that collective bargaining must also be included in the blueprint; along with mandatory union representation on all care boards; and a commitment to protect terms, conditions and pensions of care staff currently employed by councils.
She said: “Social care workers stood by us throughout the depths of the pandemic and continue to do so. It’s our turn now to stand by them in their fight for the National Care Service they deserve.”
She told delegates meeting in Caird Hall, Dundee, the NCS proposals are far too vague – “a press release that has grown arms and legs” - and, if carers are not placed at the centre of the planning process, will not address a rolling crisis in staff recruitment and retention.
Drylie said: “A National Care Service provides an opportunity to transform the sector, to value the workforce, and deliver the best possible care that people deserve but that opportunity is being missed.”
Basic details like the number of care boards and how pensions will be protected have so far not been addressed, she said, and workers are being asked to take “a leap of faith they cannot afford to take.”
She added: “A National Care Service can be transformational. That is all the more reason for us to get it right, not to ram legislation through parliament without having a clear idea of what comes next and how that will impact on people’s lives and care.”
A motion urging the Scottish Government to pause the NCS bill was supported by Congress.
Click on the image below to watch Annette Drylie, GMB Scotland Branch Secretary speaking at STUC Congress 2023 or follow this link: https://bit.ly/3KIQ1M1