Manchester City Council moves to lift carers’ pay

Announcement comes as part of plans to bring social care and NHS services closer together

Graphic from the cover of the ethical care charter document

Carers in Manchester are set to get a £1 an hour pay rise, the city council has announced.

The move means that home care assistants – who are often some of the lowest-paid people in the city – will see their wage rise to £8.75 an hour, which is the Manchester living wage.

This is one of the key aims in UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter, which Manchester committed itself to last October. The charter also aims to ensure adequate staffing levels and enough time for workers to look after vulnerable people.

It is being driven by a £1.5m cash boost from the council to commissioned organisations that supply care staff – on the condition that the money means employees will receive a proper living wage.

Currently, Manchester pays those home care businesses an average of £13.50 per hour for helping in people’s homes. Now, it will go up to £15.20 per hour, with the clear expectation that the rise will benefit care staff from 1 April this year.

Long-term, the move is part of future plans between the council and its NHS partners for how services are commissioned, recognising the invaluable role that the city’s home care staff provide, and working to keep and attract more people to the role.

“This money is a way of recognising the hard work of those workers who give the sort of daily care that’s not only practical, but is a lifeline in providing the dignity that we all need,” said Councillor Bev Craig, who is executive member for adult services, health and wellbeing at Manchester City Council.

“We all know that some things like dignity and wellbeing can’t have a price put on them. But, in reality, when you consider how this sector keeps people living longer and better at home, you can see not only the moral, but economic reasons too.

“Quite simply, this is the right thing to do and by investing in our people and services we will also help with tackling shameful in-work poverty in Manchester.”

UNISON national officer Matt Egan commented: “This is fantastic news for low-paid care workers and shows the benefits of a council that is prepared to positively engage with UNISON’s campaigning work.

“We are slowly but surely challenging the idea that unfortunately took root in the UK that care work is a job that only pays poverty wages.

“The North West region of UNISON continues to do superlative work in ensuring that care work is afforded the respect and value that it deserves.”

Regional organiser Tim Ellis said: “UNISON and Care Workers for Change are very pleased that, following our campaign, we have been able to secure this landmark agreement for home care with Manchester City council.

“The agreement that home care staff working in services commissioned by the council will be paid £8.75 per hour – the real living wage – and that visits will be a minimum of 30 minutes is great news for the staff and the residents of Manchester.

“This agreement will allow the first steps in the rebuilding of home care, which is an essential service – not only to support Manchester residents in their home environment but also to reduce pressure and cost on the NHS.

“UNISON will continue to campaign for the further development of this service, with increased better pay for staff and comprehensive quality home care available to Manchester people.

“We are looking to extend this type of agreement across all Greater Manchester local authorities.”