Salford city branch wins £19m pay rise for care workers across England

After sustained campaigning from UNISON, large care provider commits to paying the real living wage to employees

After several years of campaigning from UNISON’s Salford City  branch and local care workers, Anchor Hanover – the largest provider of specialist housing and care for older people in England – have announced that they will be paying care workers the real living wage from this month (December).

This means that employees will be paid at least £9.90, almost £1 an hour more than the current national minimum wage rate of £8.91 which many Anchor Hanover care workers were on.

The huge uplift is thought to be worth up to £19m a year for employees of the company.

One relieved care worker said: “This will help me pay my bills because prices have gone up so much. Hopefully it will help me go on holiday and enjoy life.”

Last year, the campaign led to an agreement with Salford City council, dubbed ‘The Salford offer’, which gave care providers extra funding to guarantee full pay to care workers who were self-isolating or shielding as well as extra money to give local care workers a pay rise.

However, Anchor Hanover was one of the few social care providers operating in Salford which refused to pass the funding on to its care workers, despite it costing them nothing.

In response, Salford City UNISON organised a protest outside one of Anchor’s local care homes and launched a petition and wrote to the council.

The campaign culminated in a community action which took place in Living Wage Week, last month, outside of one of the provider’s care homes in Salford. Supported by Greater Manchester Citizens, the event was attended by care workers, councillors, local MP Rebecca Long-Bailey among other community supporters.

At the event, care workers spoke about how difficult it was to get by on the minimum wage with one care worker revealing that she had sold her car to make ends meet.

Speaking of the announcement, UNISON’s Salford city branch secretary Steve North said: “This comes off the back of a sustained campaign from Salford city branch and UNISON North West.

“Through a combination of organising with workers, relentless direct protest and determined political lobbying, we have shown that those who deliver care and support can have a powerful voice.”

Meanwhile, UNISON North West recently launched a campaign for all care workers in Greater Manchester to be paid the real living wage, at least.

UNISON North West regional organiser Dan Smith said: “The real living wage is the very least that care workers deserve – but so many providers continue to pay poverty wages to frontline staff while extracting profits from public contracts or paying grossly inflated wages to executives.

“UNISON North West and care workers across the region call on care providers to follow suit – care workers demand a pay rise. We also call on local councils to take responsibility for the pay and conditions of social care workers by making the the real living wage the minimum starting salary for all commissioned social care.”

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