Campaigning public services union, UNISON Cymru/Wales today (Wednesday) celebrates securing a landmark agreement with Swansea Labour group which would see the implementation of an ethical care charter – the first of its kind in Wales, if Labour wins control of the council in the May local elections.
At a public event outside Swansea Guildhall this afternoon, Labour politicians will sign a commitment to the delivery of the highest standards in homecare and better conditions for homecare workers. The charter states that fifteen minute client visits undermine the dignity of clients and that the length of visits must instead be matched to client needs; homecare workers must be paid at least £8.45 per hour and be paid for travel time. Zero hour contracts will be prohibited.
Margaret Thomas, UNISON regional secretary, said,
“Our most vulnerable members of society are being denied the care they need because of inadequate funding of social services in Wales. The volume of clients carers are asked to look after means they are often forced to see people for just a quarter of an hour or less. Carers have long complained this denies their clients the dignity they deserve. Fragmented and under-resourced care leads to additional and unnecessary strains on the NHS.
“Carers typically earn the minimum wage and are often denied payment for travel time between clients and supplements for unsocial working. Ensuring dignity of care for patients and fair and decent employment standards for care staff is at the heart of UNISON’s ethical care charter. Its implementation in Swansea would be step change in the provision of quality care in Wales and would benefit thousands of clients and carers and their families across the city. This would be the care standard all other Welsh councils would be measured against and Swansea’s Labour group deserve a great deal of credit for this commitment. We hope other councils will now work with UNISON to introduce our charter.”
Chris Cooze, UNISON Swansea branch secretary said,
“Swansea Labour group’s signing our ethical care charter and their endorsement of UNISON’s manifesto for the local elections shows a genuine understanding and commitment to good quality local public services.”