Fair pay for care workers

Care UK workers are taking their case to Parliament today, as MPs debate the illegal underpayment of home care workers – many of whom get less than than the national minimum wage because employers don’t pay them for the time they spend travelling between the clients.

The UNISON members were on strike for three weeks in October – taking their total days on strike to 90, in a series of disputes dating back to October last year.

The workers – who were transferred to Care UK from the NHS when Doncaster council in south Yorkshire moved the contract to the private company – provide home care for vulnerable adults and earn just £7 an hour.

This is well below the living wage rate of £7.85 an hour. That rate was announced on Monday at the start of Living Wage Week.

It is the amount a worker needs to provide the basics of life for themselves and their families without having to rely on their pay being topped up by in-work benefits, and is 20p an hour higher than than the rate set in 2013.

As part of the campaign to get decent pay for the Doncaster care workers, UNISON has approached large pension funds to put pressure on Care UK’s owners, Bridgepoint Capital.

Many funds, including one of the largest in the world, the California Public Employees Retirement System, as well as UK local council funds, invest via Bridgepoint Capital in portfolios that include Care UK.

“UNISON calls on all public-sector pension funds that are invested in Bridgepoint to request a negotiated settlement of the Care UK dispute with us,” UNISON national pensions officer Colin Meech told The Indpendent newspaper in September.

“We believe it is in the best interests of the scheme members to do so.”


UNISON campaigning for a living wage

Key issue: Home care

Hundreds of thousands of care workers paid less than the living wage

Care UK strikers hit the streets of London