Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/958/25953
The Socialist 9 August 2017 |
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End poverty pay for sleep-in care workers
Care workers are some of the most exploited in the country (Click to enlarge)
Katie, support worker for adults with learning disabilities
'Amnesty' for care companies, more poverty wages for the workers.
Since the NHS began outsourcing care services to private companies and charities, wages and conditions for carers, support workers and healthcare assistants have been squeezed. The care sector is fast becoming the new slave wage job where employers are taking advantage of the cheap overseas labour pool. And with more and more older adults and more people with disabilities living into adulthood these services are at full capacity.
As a result there are thousands of workers across the UK who are being paid illegal wages. One such case has highlighted the issue. The charity Mencap has been found to be in breach of minimum wage laws for paying £29.05 for nine-hour, sleep-in shifts. And this is not a rare case. As a carer and a support worker I have undertaken sleep-in shifts for a variety of companies with one paying as little as £24 for a nine-hour shift. Yet a recent government ruling has let these companies off the hook. Mencap claimed that obeying the law could lead to a loss of services to vulnerable adults.
But where is the amnesty for those staff who spend nights away from their families for a pittance? Some staff have been asked to sleep with noisy monitors beside their bed and fire doors that slam shut at 4am.
The Socialist Party calls on all unions to back a list of demands including hourly pay for sleep-in staff, without averaging out and for a massive increase in investment into care services, including from local councils.