Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1086/30758
Leicester care workers face pay cut and worse conditions
Care workers are some of the most exploited in the country, photo (public domain) (Click to enlarge)
Heather Rawling, Unison union member (personal capacity)
Care home workers in Leicestershire are to be rewarded for their courage and sacrifice during this crisis with a pay cut and worsening conditions of service. But that's alright. They will be applauded every Thursday night!
Under the cover of Covid-19, Leicestershire County Care Limited, which owns former council-run homes, has callously decided to cut the salaries of 97 employees. The worst-affected workers will see their salaries cut by nearly one third. Sick pay will also be reduced, to the legal minimum, two weeks will be taken off annual leave, and paternity, maternity and adoption leave reduced to the state minimum.
Effectively, this would abolish the conditions of employment fought for while the homes were run by the council. Privatisation threatens care standards and workers' pay and conditions.
Care workers have been on the front line caring for residents in extremely difficult circumstances emotionally and physically. Proportionately, more care workers have died from Covid-19 than hospital staff. So to reward them with a pay cut is criminal.
They should be getting a pay rise for working in hazardous conditions and putting themselves and their families at risk. The average pay of a care worker in the UK is £8.21 an hour. Unison was informed of the changes before the announcement. The unions should be demanding no reduction in pay and conditions. No one should have to work for less than £12 an hour.
If the owners of the care homes say they can't afford it then they should be brought into public ownership and democratically run by workers and the community. The government has shown there is money available when it has a mind to use it. We should be demanding that the government increases the funding to local authorities to pay for the care of the old, sick and vulnerable in our communities.
The whole trade union movement should move to defend the pay and conditions of any section of workers threatened with job losses and pay cuts by employers using the pandemic to attack workers.
In The Socialist 11 May 2020:
What we think
Spanish flu 1918
Lessons from history