GMB Calls For £15 An Hour Social Care Minimum Wage As New Report Reveals “Chronic Exploitation” Of Frontline Staff
GMB Scotland has called on the Scottish Government and care providers to work towards the delivery of a £15 an hour minimum wage across the social care sector.
It follows the release today (Monday 17 August) of a new report commissioned by the union, “Show You Care – Voices from the frontline of Scotland’s broken social care sector”, featuring participation and testimony from over 1,600 members employed across Scotland’s care sector, which revealed:
- Over four-fifths of care workers (both home care and care home staff) surveyed felt undervalued by their management or employer;
- Over three-quarters have considered leaving their care sector because of this sense of undervalue;
- Nearly three-quarters felt they did not have enough time with service users to deliver compassionate and dignified care;
- Nearly four-fifths of care home staff surveyed reported under-staffing in their workplace;
- Nearly half of all care workers surveyed said they worked unpaid hours to fulfil their allotted caring duties; and
- Over four-fifths believe their industry in Scotland is not properly funded.
The sobering testimony from the frontline workers was gathered in the months prior to COVID-19 and as the virus emerged to grip the social care sector by Dr Eddie Donaghy, social science and health services researcher based at the University of Edinburgh, in conjunction with GMB Scotland’s Women’s Campaign Unit.
GMB Scotland Organiser Rhea Wolfson said:
“Our social care sector’s greatest asset is its workforce but what COVID-19 has exposed to everyone is how poorly valued they are by their employers and government, a fact that is evidenced by our members in this report.
“But let’s be clear that the industry and politicians already understood pre-COVID the chronic exploitation of what is a predominantly women workforce; mired in low pay, precarious conditions, under resourced, overworked and a broken model of funding.
“Despite warnings, the failure to tackle these underlying diseases ultimately contributed to the lack of preparedness that resulted in the scandal of care workers left without proper PPE while NHS patients were put into their workplaces without proper testing.
“It must shake decision-makers into the obvious conclusion that proper value and investment in the people delivering care means better and more dignified care for the service user, with greater potential to retain skills and to attract more people to work in the sector.
“The prospect of leaving this exhausted and traumatised workforce on wages up to £5 an hour less than the UK average (nearly £15 an hour) just isn’t credible – what employer or politician is going to tell them they are worth less than average after all they are doing?
“That’s why GMB is going to “fight for fifteen” in social care. It won’t happen overnight but if we want to change care for the better and become a country of fair work, then we must listen these workers, value them properly and invest in their industry.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Women’s Campaign Unit on 07850 575023 or GMB Scotland Communications on 07976 447077.
Notes to Editors:
Copies of the full report,“Show You Care – Voices from the frontline of Scotland’s broken social care sector”, are available on request from GMB Scotland Communications.