Radical Change in Social Care in Wales Can Influence the Whole of the UK

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2023 National Delegate Conference
14 February 2023
Carried as Amended

Conference welcomes the good work UNISON is leading in Wales in partnership with the Welsh government and other unions to address the long term crisis in social care and recognises developments here have enormous potential to influence how care is delivered across the UK.

UNISON’s campaigning resulted in Wales TUC and Welsh Labour’s adoption of the creation of a National Care Service for Wales as policy and the Welsh Government alongside Plaid Cymru, has pledged to explore the establishment of such a service.

The Welsh Labour government has acknowledged the system is broken and needs radical change and is working on a range of measures in partnership with the trade unions:

1)A tripartite Social Care Fair Work Forum which will address pay, career pathways, poor levels of trade union membership and recognition and explore the establishment of sectoral collective bargaining;

2)Introduction of the real living wage as a minimum for care workers in Wales from April 2022, despite the current challenging financial situation.

Conference commends the landmark UNISON Wales/Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) National Care Service for Wales report, launched in November 2022, which shows the private sector is the barrier to improved social services in Wales.

Conference is very encouraged the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Wales TUC and various councils want to work with UNISON on the report’s findings and recognises developments in social care in Wales place it ahead of every other nation. Meeting our objectives in Wales will provide a successful template for social care for the whole of the UK.

Conference agrees that UNISON resources need to be appropriately identified and allocated to regions (devolved administrations and English regions) to effectively challenge the private vested interests which deliver up to 70 per cent of social care and where there is hardly any trade union membership or recognition. If UNISON Wales can succeed in its campaign to establish sectoral collective bargaining in Wales, it will be vital the union has the means to win a majority of the 100,000-strong workforce in Wales and become the union for care workers.

Conference therefore calls on the National Executive Council to:

a)Further develop and adapt our policy and campaigns for National Care Services in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, particularly applying the lessons learned from the developments in Wales and Scotland that clearly demonstrate marketised social care removes taxpayers’ money that should be invested in care provision and in care workers themselves. These campaigns should be underpinned by commissioning representative pilot investigations to ‘follow the money’ in care as it disappears in private profit or is wasted in the commissioning process in Wales and elsewhere in the UK.

b)Review the allocation of UNISON’s policy and organising and recruitment capacity across our regions to ensure that within the devolved administrations and England we are best able to maximise the opportunities to recruit, organise and improve the pay and conditions of social care workers across the UK.