UNISON vows to build care campaign

Conference pledges to campaign on funding crisis and step up action to organise workers

“Not a week goes by when there isn’t a mention of the crisis in social care,” Andrea Egan of the service group executive declared as UNISON’s local government conference turned its attention to a series of debates on care and social services.

A “firghtening level of cuts” since 2010 have resulted in “a broken care system, a broken society,” she said.

And delegates heard from a service user when Chris Nykiel of Leeds local government told them: “As a user of services, people who come to my door to help me understand that they will be the only human I see all day.”

And often, he said, he “opens the door to someone who is tired, under pressure and stressed.

Conference declared itself proud of the work UNISON has done to publicise its Ethical Care Charter and get councils to sign up to it, and the launch of a new Residential Care Charter at conference this week, and vowed to build the campaign.

And conference also pledged the union to build its work on recruiting in homecare, with service group executive speaker Polly Smith to use the care charters as recruitment tool.

“Branches must make sure homecare workers are recruited as a priority, not as an afterthought,” she urged.

Conference adopted a motion calling for more work to recruit care workers, which came from Haringey branch – a number of whose care-worker members are in court tomorrow as they seeking compensation from a former employer.

One of them, Florence Wambulu, told delegates: “I was on a zero-hours contract, on £3.27 an hour, working seven days a week.

“So I joined the union – and tomorrow I’m going to court.”