The Workers Union is asking the government to give Britain’s hard-pressed underpaid care workers a cash boost pay rise.
The news comes after a report from the Living Wage Foundation revealed that almost 75 percent of frontline care workers in England earn less than the ‘living wage’.
The living wage is a voluntary payment of at least £9.50 an hour. Employers can sign-up to pay it by accrediting with the Living Wage Foundation. It is distinct from the government’s National Minimum Wage, which sets the minimum compulsory amount that a worker should receive per hour. The present minimum wage is £8.72 for those over 25.
The report also highlights the plight of care workers in Northern England, where the proportion of frontline staff on less than the living wage reaches 78 percent in the north-west and 82 percent in the north-east.
The Workers Union Says
Our care workers are the true heroes of the COVID pandemic. They have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to put themselves at risk in order to carry on caring for their patients. For these people, looking after the sick and the elderly is a vocation that will not be circumscribed by Coronavirus – or any other pathogen.
It is to our detriment that we continue to assume that their caring natures have no breaking point. It is to our shame that they continue to suffer Dickensian-style deprivations. And this analysis should not just be confined to staff in the caring professions: the government’s National Minimum Wage does not go far enough to afford many thousands of people in other sectors a decent standard of living either. It does not feed children living in poverty or provide the resources to fund adequate shelter. In a world where billionaires traverse the oceans in super-yachts and greedy bankers trade the lives of millions from glass and chrome towers, it is unconscionable that British children know what it is to go hungry.
The government must urgently address the issues in the social care sector. A new model of funding is required that prioritises better pay and benefits for staff. There may be a growing political will to address this, but we need much more than fine words before our courageous care workers can truly believe that their voices are being heard.
Likewise they must review the National Minimum Wage and raise it to a level that offers hope and security for working people and their families.
Anything else will betray the government’s pledge to “level up” our fractured society.
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union