Swansea will become the latest council to implement UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter banning 15-minute care visits and zero-hour contracts next month – if Labour keep control of the council in next week’s local election.
Rob Stewart, the leader of the council’s Labour group, signed a commitment UNISON branch secretary Chris Cooze and regional secretary Margaret Thomas pledging that “the charter will be implemented in full” at “the earliest possibility” in the next council term.
The charter contains a set of commitments to protect the dignity and quality of life for vulnerable people and the workers who care for them.
It states that
- 15-minute client visits undermine the dignity of clients and that the length of visits must instead be matched to clients’ needs;
- homecare workers must be paid at least £8.45 an hour and be paid for travel time;
- zero-hour contracts will be prohibited.
Welcoming the signing at a ceremony outside Swansea Guildhall yesterday, Chris Cooze said: “Swansea Labour group’s signing our ethical care charter and their endorsement of UNISON’s manifesto for the local elections shows a genuine understanding and commitment to good quality local public services.”
Ms Thomas added: “Our most vulnerable members of society are being denied the care they need because of inadequate funding of social services in Wales.
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“The volume of clients carers are asked to look after means they are often forced to see people for just a quarter of an hour or less. Carers have long complained this denies their clients the dignity they deserve.”
And she pointed out that “fragmented and under-resourced care leads to additional and unnecessary strains on the NHS”.
Implementing the Ethical Care Charter in Swansea “would be step change in the provision of quality care in Wales and would benefit thousands of clients and carers and their families across the city,” added Ms Thomas.
“We hope other councils will now work with UNISON to introduce our charter.”
A formal signing by the council after next week’s elections would make Swansea the first local authority in Wales to commit to the charter and its standards, and the 28th in the UK.
The charter is a key element in the union’s Save Care Now campaign.
More than 500,000 adults in the UK rely on homecare workers to get them out of bed, wash them, brush their teeth, help them take their medication and much more.
At the same time, thousands of care workers are deeply concerned about the state of the care sector in the UK, but many are afraid to speak out publicly as they risk losing their jobs. It’s time to listen to them.
The campaign helps make sure their voices are heard and works to improve the homecare sector.