Local MPs and care workers protest in Haringey calling for the fairer treatment of homecare workers

MPs and care workers are staging a protest today (Thursday) outside Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green, calling on the council to do its bit to improve conditions for homecare staff across the borough.

David Lammy and Catherine West are getting together with homecare workers to urge the London Borough of Haringey to sign and implement UNISON’s ethical care charter.

Across the UK, 26 local authorities have so far got behind UNISON’s charter, including 8 in the capital. It commits councils and care companies to paying workers for the time it takes them to travel between appointments, providing guaranteed hours (rather than zero-hour contracts), and the living wage (currently £9.75 an hour in London).

Some of those taking part this morning are among the 43 care workers involved in UNISON’s landmark case against Sevacare and several other companies operating in the borough.

The case, due to be heard at an employment tribunal in June, is mainly about the non-payment of travel time, which meant staff were being paid well below the minimum wage.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Every day homecare workers are going above and beyond the call of duty so elderly people can continue to live independently in their own homes.

“But low pay, zero-hours and non-payment of travel time is making it harder and harder for care workers to make ends meet.

“We know life is tough for councils because the government has drastically cut their funding. But councils should still do what they can to adopt the charter, and make things better for care users and care workers alike.

“Signing makes it clear to care companies the council expects care staff to be treated fairly and people to be cared for with dignity. This is in stark contrast to the illegal wages and rushed 15 minute care visits that are sadly becoming the norm in far too much of the care sector.”

Haringey’s neighbouring councils Islington and Camden have already signed the charter. The two most recent London local authorities were Barking and Dagenham, and Croydon, which both did so last autumn.

Notes to editors:
– UNISON’s ethical care charter can be found here.
– The event will be open to press and photographers at 10.30am at the following address: Haringey Civic Centre, 265 High Road, Wood Green, London N22 8ZW.

Media contacts:
Joe Lewis T: 0207 121 5255 M: 07970 863 411 E: j.lewis5@unison.co.uk
Alan Weaver T:  0207 121 5555 M: 07939 143310 E: a.weaver@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: l.chinchen@unison.co.uk