“Social care is the bedrock of our society,” Carol Sewell told UNISON’s women’s conference this morning, as she opened a debate on the particular impact on women of cuts to social care.
Noting that, while the public are highly aware of the impact of cuts in the NHS, they are less aware of the impact of cuts to social care, she described social care as “the bedrock of our society”, one that is is “provided mostly by women”, many of whom also have caring responsibilities at home.
“All the home care workers want to do is their job, which they love doing”, but not without proper wage and conditions.
Jacky Lewis for the LGBT national committee declared that “care is in crisis and women are bearing the brunt of that crisis”.
Since 2010, £7bn has been cut from adult social care.
Ms Lewis reiterated the UNISON call for a national care service, with care free at the point of delivery.
“I’m proud that UNISON carries the word of our EU members,” said another delegate, a social care worker and EU citizen herself, as she highlighted the impact that Brexit is already having on social care in terms of carers leaving the service.
Delegates unanimously called on the union’s national executive council to campaign nationally for a “social care policy commensurate with a caring society”.
In a busy final day in Bournemouth, delegates also discussed discrimination instate reciprocal pension arrangements for Black women, and also breaking the barriers for Black women in senior positions.
Annette from Coventry noted that “it’s beneficial for everyone to have a voice in their workplace.”
Debbie from Eastern region told conference how, being inspired by an earlier UNISON conference, she had decided that she could challenge her local council on the lack of Black people in senior positions – and by doing that, the council is moving forward.
“Start now by leading where you are,” was her clarion call.