Home care workers in Scotland demand better pay and conditions amid Covid-19 crisis

Home care workers, who provide essential services to vulnerable Scots, are on the verge of a strike over low wages, long hours, and lack of protective equipment. They claim that they have been neglected and exploited by the government and private agencies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Home care workers are the backbone of the social care system

Home care workers are responsible for providing personal care, medication, meals, and companionship to elderly, disabled, and chronically ill people in their own homes. They help them maintain their dignity, independence, and quality of life. They also reduce the pressure on the NHS and care homes by preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and infections.

According to the Scottish Social Services Council, there are about 60,000 home care workers in Scotland, of which 85% are women. They work for local authorities, private agencies, charities, or directly for clients. They are often required to travel long distances, work unsocial hours, and deal with complex and challenging situations.

Home care workers are essential for the social care system, especially during the Covid-19 crisis, when many vulnerable people are isolated and at risk. They have been praised by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as “heroes” and “angels” for their dedication and sacrifice.

Home care workers are underpaid, overworked, and unprotected

However, home care workers say that they have not been treated fairly or valued by the government and private agencies. They complain that they are paid below the living wage, which is £9.50 per hour in Scotland. They also say that they are not paid for travel time, mileage, or training, and that they have no sick pay, holiday pay, or pension.

Home care workers

Home care workers also report that they are overworked and under pressure, with long and unpredictable shifts, short and rushed visits, and unrealistic targets. They say that they have no time to rest, eat, or use the toilet, and that they often work beyond their contracted hours without extra pay.

Home care workers also claim that they have not been provided with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gloves, aprons, and sanitiser, to protect themselves and their clients from Covid-19. They say that they have been exposed to the virus without proper testing, tracing, or isolation, and that they have been put at risk of infection and transmission.

Home care workers are ready to take industrial action

Home care workers have been campaigning for better pay and conditions for years, but they say that their demands have been ignored and dismissed by the government and private agencies. They say that they have been left with no choice but to take industrial action to make their voices heard and their rights respected.

Home care workers have been organising and mobilising through trade unions, such as Unison, GMB, and Unite, and grassroots groups, such as Fair Pay for Scottish Care Workers and Scottish Care Workers for Change. They have been holding protests, rallies, and petitions, and calling for public support and solidarity.

Home care workers have also been balloting for strike action, which could affect thousands of clients across Scotland. They say that they do not want to cause any harm or inconvenience to their clients, but they hope that their action will force the government and private agencies to negotiate and improve their pay and conditions.

Home care workers are calling for a national care service

Home care workers are not only demanding better pay and conditions for themselves, but also a radical reform of the social care system in Scotland. They are calling for a national care service, which would be publicly funded, owned, and controlled, and which would ensure high-quality, accessible, and affordable care for all.

Home care workers argue that the current system is fragmented, privatised, and market-driven, and that it prioritises profit over people. They say that the system is underfunded, understaffed, and unregulated, and that it fails to meet the needs and rights of both workers and clients.

Home care workers support the idea of a national care service, which was proposed by an independent review commissioned by the Scottish Government and published in February 2021. The review recommended that social care should be treated as a public good, and that workers should be paid at least the living wage, have fair contracts, and receive training and career development.

Home care workers hope that the Scottish Government will implement the recommendations of the review, and that the next Scottish Parliament, which will be elected in May 2021, will make social care a priority. They say that a national care service would be a positive and progressive step for Scotland, and that it would benefit workers, clients, and society as a whole.

By Chris Muir

Chris Muir is a talented SEO analyst and writer at Cumbernauld Media. With a deep passion for all things related to search engine optimization, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. Specializing in improving website visibility and driving organic traffic, Chris utilizes cutting-edge SEO techniques to propel websites to the top of search engine rankings. Through meticulous keyword research, on-page optimization, and strategic link building, Chris helps businesses of all sizes achieve their online goals.

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