Received from: GMB
Congress recognises that the pandemic has exposed the scale of exploitation in the care sector, and believes urgent reforms are needed if the social care ‘crisis within a crisis’ is to be addressed.
Congress notes and condemns the chronic low pay and degraded terms and conditions in care. According to Skills for Care, the average hourly rate for privately employed care workers in England was £8.50 in 2019/20, and a third of direct care workers were employed on zero-hours contracts (rising to more than half in London).
In most parts of the sector, statutory sick pay (or no sick pay) and the national minimum wage have become the norm, resulting in higher Covid-19 infection rates. Violations of minimum wage regulations are common. These exploitative working practices disproportionately affect older women and Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers.
Congress further recognises the impact of exploitative employment conditions on care workers, noting that:
i. Research for GMB Scotland’s Show You Care report found that four-fifths of care workers felt undervalued by their management or employer.
ii. A recent GMB survey found that three-quarters of care workers said that their mental health had worsened during the pandemic.
Congress therefore calls on all parts of the TUC to support the GMB’s campaign for care workers to be paid at least £15 an hour to bring earnings in line with the average for workers in the whole economy and the NHS, and to give care workers the reward and recognition they deserve.
- In the penultimate paragraph, insert new sub-paragraph ii.:
“ii. Work by UNISON continues to show non-compliance with the minimum wage in the sector.”
- Renumber existing sub-paragraph ii. as iii.
- In the final paragraph, after “to support” insert “a campaign for the fundamental reform of the social care system that reflects:”
Before “the GMB’s campaign” insert “a.” to denote a new sub-paragraph,
and turn all the text from “the GMB’s campaign” to the end of the paragraph into sub-paragraph a. (running on from “reflects:”)
Then after “recognition they deserve” at the end, add new sub-paragraph b.:
“b. UNISON’s campaign for a national care service, incorporating sustained funding and the creation of a comprehensive framework of provision mirroring the NHS.”