Raising the Bar in North West Social Care

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2018 Community Service Group Conference
7 November 2017

Conference notes the continued success of the North West Region’s Social Care Organising Project ‘Care Workers for Change’ and the revitalisation of the participation and sector organisation of Community members which are key objectives within its Regional Work Programme.

Funded by the Region and participating branches, its aims are to recruit new members and activists, to establish organising committees, to achieve recognition in 25% of the sector, National Minimum Wage compliance and the Living Wage in 25% of the sector.

Working in key providers including Bupa, Four Seasons, Community Integrated Care, Dovehaven, Anchor, Embrace, Minister Care Group, Orchard Care Homes, Methodist Homes and Making Space, at the end of it’s first year of operation the project has achieved:

The high visibility for the ‘Care Workers for Change’ campaign publicity, a wide-ranging social media presence and campaign spokespeople who have established UNISON as the main union for care workers in Greater Manchester and Liverpool City regions;

The engagement of thousands of individuals and community and faith groups in the ‘Demanding Dignity in Social Care’ borough campaigns;

The successful passing of Council motions securing union access to private sector social care providers in Sefton, Salford, Halton and Knowsley, with significant progress also being made in Manchester, Wigan and Oldham;

The securing of progressive social care manifesto commitments from the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotherham;

The identification of over 90 new members who have engaged in the campaign;

An increase in membership of 88% in the initial target providers, with significant membership growth in some areas including 250+ across Four Seasons and Methodist Homes, 160+ in BUPA homes (despite great hostility from the employer), 350+ across homes in Stockport and growth across a variety of providers in Salford, Sefton, Oldham and Manchester;

The lodging of 150+ National Minimum Wage claims against 13 employers plus support for 22 national claims.

Conference further notes that none of this work would have been attainable without the ongoing financial support and work of the 35 UNISON branches involved, their staff and activists and the work of the North West’s 28 Local Organisers/Fighting Fund Local Organisers.

Conference commends the strategic political and organisational approach that the project has taken to ensure that progress has been made to both highlight the crisis in social care and the working terms, conditions, pay and treatment of UNISON members and their colleagues.

Conference further welcomes the initiative of the Service Group Executive to enable activists from the North West to share their learning from this ongoing campaign at its 2018 Seminar.

Conference calls on the Service Group Executive to:

1) Share the learning of the North West and other regional campaigns with regions/nations through UNISON publications such as Activist magazine, digital media and circulars to Regional Service Group Committees;

2) Ensure that the progress the North West has made is shared widely throughout the Service Group;

3) Actively publicise the work Regional Service Groups and Regions are undertaking to recruit and organise in Social Care;

4) In conjunction with UNISON National Office, Regions and Branches continue to produce guidance on best practice for campaigning in the Social Care sector;

5) Work with UNISON National Office to produce effective negotiating, bargaining and other appropriate resources for use by activists and workplace representatives in Social Care at local level.