Improving working conditions for Care workers

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2015 Local Government Service Group Conference
20 February 2015

There is a high proportion of Black workers in the care and support sector. Black workers disproportionately face job losses, downgrading and cuts in hours.

In addition to this, care workers working with individuals with learning difficulties and dementia are at a higher risk of suffering from violence and abuse at work. Some of whom find it very difficult to report incidents for fear of losing their jobs or lack of awareness of an organisations policies.

Black staff are continually given the impression that suffering abuse is simply part of the job and in a survey by Skills for Care on support workers in 2013 it found that under reporting was a major issue.

In 2013 UNISON’s survey of healthcare assistants found that 85% of the participants were verbally abused whilst 20% had been exposed to actual physical violence at work. Many of those interviewed were thinking of leaving the profession as they felt that their jobs were neither appreciated nor respected by those in authority.

Further UNISON research undertaken in 2012 into homecare revealed over half the respondents reported that their terms and conditions of employment had worsened during that period. In light of these findings UNISON’s ethical care charter was developed to establish a minimum baseline for safety, quality and dignity of care.

We therefore call on the Local Government Service Group Executive to work with the National Black Members’ Committee to seek to:-

1)Explore and discuss how we can encourage Black members to routinely report incidents of abuse;

2)Explore increasing training for members on the issue of violence at work and how to combat this;

3)Develop a campaign highlighting violence at work and how to combat this issue;

4)Promote UNISON’s ethical care charter throughout Black members structures and support campaigns for it to be adopted by employers.