UNISON has released an open letter to local authority leaders and chief executives across Wales calling for fairer funding in the care sector. The letter, detailed below, us supported by third sector employers including Catrefi Cymru, Gofal, Hafal, Mirus Wales, Perthyn, and Wales and West Housing Association.
Dear Welsh Local Councils,
Care providers are in a desperate position
Christmas Day is a working day for carers and support workers. Rather than sitting down to dinner with their family, these community superstars will be working to provide support and care to vulnerable people in their own homes and in residential centres. Maybe they will be looking after members of your family; they will definitely be looking after people in your community.
Carers will be ensuring that the most vulnerable in our society are treated with dignity. They support older people, those who are physically disabled, individuals with mental health issues and service users who have learning difficulties. They offer consistency of care and provide a range of support which may be help with preparing Christmas dinner, company and conversation, getting up in the morning or ensuring vital medication is taken; all with a reassuring, friendly face and a wealth of knowledge and experience about the needs of the people they care for. They deserve not only our praise but fair rates of pay and conditions of service. Unfortunately, most are paid the minimum wage of £7.20 per hour. We would like everyone to be paid at least the real Living Wage of £8.45 per hour.
A great deal of care is undertaken by charity or third sector employers on behalf of local authorities. There is simply no money in these contracts to pay above the national minimum and many care providers are under pressure to reduce unsocial hours’ supplements and sickness benefits in order to balance the books. It cannot be right to undermine the vital work carers do in this way. Councils must provide these organisations with adequate funding to ensure respect at work for employees as well as quality of care for service users. It should not be a choice between doing one or the other. Carers might work for a charity, they are not a charity.
Please support care workers in your community by providing the sector with more money. Quality care means investing in the workforce.
Caterfi Cymru, Gofal, Hafal, Mirus Wales, Perthyn, UNISON Cymru/Wales, Wales and West Housing Association