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Undervalued council carers in Moray win fair pay at last

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Care workers in Moray have won a big rise and thousands of pounds in back pay after accusing council managers of undervaluing their work for years.

A long-running review of the role of Social Care Assistants working for Moray Council has ended with the job going up to two grades and most workers now being paid £15 an hour.

GMB Scotland fought for the rise and said other councils across Scotland being challenged on unfair job reviews should now follow Moray in fairly recognising the changing role and responsibilities of care workers, mostly women, who have been undervalued and underpaid for decades.

Cara Stevenson, GMB Scotland organiser in the women’s campaign unit, was involved in the Moray negotiations and welcomed the council’s decision.

She said: “The process took far too long but the council engaged seriously with the issues raised by our members. Other local authorities should follow its lead.

“Our members work in care providing crucial frontline support to some of the most vulnerable people in communities across Moray.

“That role has changed dramatically in recent years and that has been now recognised with fair pay.”

GMB Scotland had appealed an initial job review in January 2023 claiming it did not fairly value the work done by Moray carers while insisting any pay increase should be backdated to 2022.

The pay rise for care workers means most now earn an extra £2.24 an hour. A full time employee with more than three years’ service is estimated to have received over £4000 as a result of this campaign.  

Frontline care staff say their jobs have been transformed in recent years with additional responsibilities including supporting more people with complex needs, administering medication, increased administration and liaising with other services like NHS Scotland and social work.

GMB Scotland has warned looming equal pay claims threaten to bankrupt local authorities across Scotland without urgent government intervention.

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland secretary, has written to the Scottish Government warning many councils’ refusal to engage on claims risks financial catastrophe.

She is urging Humza Yousaf to support the creation of a new specialist body to decide on equal pay claims across the country and enforce awards because local authorities are refusing to face reality.

She said: “Councils are approaching equal pay claims like the Titanic approaching the iceberg.

“Councillors have their heads in the sand and executives have their fingers in their ears but these equal pay claims will come, will be won and will need to be settled.”