Unite has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government that health and social care workers will receive £500 one-off payment. This will be well received by those care workers who are in some of the lowest paid jobs in Scotland.
However Unite members are extremely disappointed that the Scottish Government has decided to ignore all other local government frontline workers who have worked through the pandemic. Although the below list is nowhere near exhaustive, imagine life without these workers!
5 Steps to Care to protect care workers and service users
We are aware of concerns from care workers about the control of infection of COVID-19. A major concern is that agency workers are often working different shifts in different care settings.
We support agency workers making a living, but we feel that the City of Edinburgh Council is responsible for reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection and keeping everyone safe.
Sign our 5 steps to care petition calling for the Council and employment agencies to adopt our 5 steps to care to keep staff and service users safe.
5 steps to care
City of Edinburgh Council and employment agencies must:
- allocate agency workers shifts in the same care setting during COVID-19
- strictly monitor where agency staff are working
- implement effective workforce planning, including increased staffing to cover absence
- provide all staff with appropriate PPE, that is fitted for the individual
- City of Edinburgh Council must commit to a post-COVID-19 review of the use of agency staff with a view to creating permanent roles.
Mary Alexander, Deputy Regional Secretary of Unite, commented
I have written to the Council about asking for a review of procedures and a plan of action to keep all workers (including agency workers) and residents in care homes safe. This is particularly important given the increasing numbers of care home residents dying with Covid related illness and the fatalities among care workers.
Wendy Dunsmore, Unite Scotland’s local authority RISC officer, brings you this update.
As care workers are putting themselves at risk every day carrying out a job that cares forthose msot vulnerable in our society, Unite is calling on local authorities and the Scottish Government to recognise these essential workers by fully funding the costs of the SSSC registration fee for these low-paid heroes.
Care workers must be registered with the SSSC to carry out their job. In recent years, councils have passed the cost of the registration on to low-paid carers, who are predominantly female. Registration can cost between £25 and £80 dependent on the role.
Unite believes there are no other workers who have to meet costs for their own employment. It is unfair and unacceptable to expect carers to do so.
Carers provide selfless and courageous work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forcing them to meet these costs leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of carers.
Unite is meeting with Scottish Government officials this week to press for this payment to be met by the employer. It is unacceptable to impose this cost on to carers.
We will keep you informed of our progress.