The job care workers do is vital. Entrusted to look after the people that we love – to care for them, while they are vulnerable, elderly or sick. It is honourable work. But care workers are not treated fairly.

Their incredible contribution is not valued by many of their employers or our government. Big care companies are acting like cowboys. And the government have chronically underfunded the sector for years. Care is in crisis. But it is care workers, and the people that they care for, that are paying the price. Care workers are some of the lowest paid workers in the UK and the quality of care that vulnerable people receive is not good enough – one in five care homes in the UK is rated inadequate or in need of improvement.

That’s why we are campaigning for change. We are fighting to win care workers:

  • A real living wage – as an absolute minimum
  • Full pay for sleep-in’s and travel time
  • Fair contracts, no zero hours
  • Enough time to care
  • A safe working environments

Care workers deserve good jobs. And the sector urgently needs sustainable funding and reform. We are going to win change. But we need your help to do it.


Exposing cowboy care providers: the state of social care

Research published today by the Centre for Health and Public Interest shows what UNISON members have been saying for decades: residential care homes are being run irresponsibly.

Labour would change social care for the better

UNISON welcomes set of solid proposals that will improve the lives of so many

UNISON takes a step forward at Cornerstone

Central Arbitration Committee says union’s bid for statutory recognition can go head at Scottish care charity

Birmingham care workers celebrate momentous victory

Long-running strike looks to be over

Solidarity from Southport for striking care workers

UNISON community conference and seminar sends message of support to Alternative Futures members striking this weekend

The Issue

The social care sector is in crisis. There is simply not enough money being allocated to deliver quality care. Carers have borne the brunt of cuts, with the workforce beset by:

  • Poverty pay – the average rate of pay just above the legal minimum
  • Unreliable, vulnerable employment – one in four care workers is on a zero-hours contract
  • Impossible shift rotas and not being given enough time to care
  • Violence and aggression -Nearly a third (31%) of care workers have experienced personal threats or even been attacked
  • Staff routinely leave the profession – annual turnover was almost 31%

The current system fails to prioritise high quality care over profits and has left the sector on the brink of collapse. According to the Kings Fund, local authority spending on social care for older people has fallen in real terms by 17 per cent since 2009/10. In July 2019, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee called for an immediate £8 billion cash injection into adult social care to restore the quality of and access to adult social care to acceptable levels. The funding crisis has it’s source in Westminster, but the effects are being felt across the whole of the UK.

Enough is enough. Care workers and care users deserve decent care. We are fighting for good jobs and sustainable funding for social care.



  • We are exposing the scandalous working conditions care workers are exposed to, and demanding action from employers.
  • We have taken a case to the Supreme Court, to get overnight ‘sleep-in’ shifts treated as ‘working time’, so care workers can be paid fairly for them.
  • We negotiate with national care providers and local employers to win care workers better pay and working conditions.
  • We are lobbying politicians and other decision makers to get the money which is so desperately needed, put into social care.
  • We want to plug the leaks in social care funding by ending the scandal of care money being used to fund debt arrangements for private companies
  •  We are campaigning for the status of care work to be raised, with proper structures for qualifications, training and career development.