0151 666 3040 unison1@wirral.gov.uk

Care Worker update 07.07.20

Dear Member

Hi Everyone ! We know its only Tuesday but as promised when we reduced our email updates to three times a week, we’re emailing you all specifically in relation to comments made yesterday evening by the Prime Minister which we know will have raised concerns amongst our membership. You may have seen that Boris Johnson accused the Care Sector yesterday of failing to follow proper procedures, in a move that seemed designed to shift the blame for the high death toll. We know that many people working in the Care Sector will be outraged that all their efforts are met with such a response. As a result Wirral Unison has today issued a press release condemning the comments of the Prime Minister. We share the press release below.

We also, for your information, provide a press release that was issued by Mick Whitely, one of the local MP’s.

We remain focused on trying to improve pay and conditions for our Care Workers. We know that many are now receiving the Real Living Wage as a result of our campaigns but sadly too many providers are still resistant. We can confirm today that we have appointed a dedicated organiser for the Care  Sector to help us to campaign and organise within the Care Sector and deliver improved pay and conditions for our members. This will enable us to step up our organising work in this crucial area.

Press release- Wirral Unison

Wirral Unison: Boris Johnson’s comments an insult to Care Workers

Wirral Unison have condemned Boris Johnson’s comments blaming the Care Sector for the number of deaths in Care Homes as a result of Covid-19.

Britain has experienced the third highest death rate, (fourth by head of population). We know where the blames lies for this tragic situation, it is not with Care Workers, nor with the care sector as a whole. Nor is it with the NHS or any of the frontline services. No, the blame lies with this Government, and we will not let the Prime Minister attempt to rewrite history.  

It was Boris Johnson that:

  • Delayed the lockdown for weeks, overruling health experts;
  • Oversaw the failure to provide appropriate levels of PPE;
  • Allowed 25,000 vulnerable people to be discharged in the care homes from hospital without being tested;
  • Is responsible for the lack of a robust test and trace procedure.

Care Workers, many paid only the minimum wage, often on zero-hour contracts and systematically deprived of full sick pay, have been on the frontline in the struggle against Covid-19. They have put their health, and their families health on the line. Too many have sadly paid with their lives. We always said that Care Workers needed more that claps on the door step from the Prime Minister. We now see that for the empty gesture it was.

Wirral Unison recognises that the care sector is in need of reform and extra funding. We need a National Care Service, where staff are paid a decent wage, and are valued for the role that they do and we will continue to challenge care home owners that do not pay the Real Living Wage to our members.

Dave, a Care Worker said “Working in a care home is never easy, the pay and conditions are poor, although the residents are great. But after struggling through this crisis, the comments from Boris Johnson are a slap in the face.”

David Jones Wirral Unison Branch Secretary said “Unison represents thousands of Care Workers, and we will not standby whilst Boris Johnson tries to absolve himself of responsibility for these thousands of tragic and unnecessary deaths; it is an insult to our members. We do not always agree with the owners of care homes, but on this occasion we know the fault lies with the Government. We call upon the Prime Minister to take ownership of his failures, and deliver his promise to reform social care. Give Care Workers the respect – and pay they deserve.”

Press Release- Mick Whitely, MP

Boris Johnson’s contempt for Care Workers on the front line

Boris Johnson has launched a despicable attack on the country’s care workers as he launches his campaign to blame everyone other than himself and his government for Britain’s shocking response to the global pandemic.

Care workers and care homes continue to pay a heavy price during this Covid 19 crisis. An estimated 20,000 deaths have taken place – but that figure is probably an underestimate. Care workers – paid the minimum wage, often on zero-hour contracts and systematically deprived of even statutory sick pay –made enormous sacrifices to help those they look after survive this crisis. Many have paid with their lives, as have those they care for.

Was this, as Johnson deceitfully claimed, their own fault? No. It was the direct result of the government’s decision to discharge 25,000 hospital patients into care homes without one of them being tested for Covid 19. It was a consequence of an unforgiveable failure to ensure that the care homes had adequate supplies of PPE from the government. It was because the government refused to introduce testing for the sector until May, by which time the virus was raging, unchecked, through the entire sector.

Unlike Johnson Mick Whitley, MP for Birkenhead, has been campaigning alongside unions and care workers to get them the recognition they deserve. Mick has gone on record calling for the real living wage to be awarded to all care workers. Locally Wirral Council made the money for this available to all care homes in the borough. Yet some Care Home Owners are claiming that giving their workers a living wage does not “fit their business model”. These owners need to be careful. If they continue to refuse to support this reasonable wage increase, they will be named and shamed.

In a letter to all of Birkenhead’s care homes Mick wrote:

“Instead of just clapping for carers Wirral Council took the lead by providing the funding for all Care Workers in the borough to be paid the real living wage. This was a fantastic move which I warmly welcomed when it was announced. But since then it has come to my attention that various Care Home owners have refused the money and refused the uplift in pay that Care Workers so desperately need. I believe it is high time that these owners are challenged. The money for the uplift is there. Why is it being refused by some of the owners of care homes?”

And in response to Johnson’s attack on care workers Mick Whitley said, “I am outraged by the comments of the Prime Minister regarding the care home sector. He is wilfully re-writing history in order to blame those who he once hypocritically clapped for the terrible mistakes by him And his government that have ensured our country is a world leader – not in testing, not in apps, not in health care – in the total number of deaths caused by the virus.

Johnson’s mismanagement, his careless disregard for the safety of workers in the care sector and many other sectors where workers carried on despite terrible risks to their health, and above all his arrogant refusal to accept that he is guilty of a single mistake, mark him out as unfit for the office he holds.

A genuine independent enquiry will, I am sure, prove, that while the workers of Britain responded to the pandemic with bravery, sacrifice and determination the government made a series of catastrophic mistakes that, to date, have left almost 45,000 families grieving for their loved ones.

It is time to call this broken government to account. It is time to stand up for care workers and fix the broken system they work in once and for all by bringing it fully into the public sector and pay the workers the real living wage – now!”

Mick Whitley, MP for Birkenhead

That’s all for today; as we said above, tonight’s was a specific update about the Care Sector and we’ll be back in touch tomorrow with our usual, broader update to members.

As always, please feel free  pass our updates on to colleagues and encourage them to join Unison if they haven’t done already. Here’s the link to join up! JOIN UNISON

In solidarity!

Lois and Dave

Dave: davidnjones@wirral.gov.uk  07880199539
Lois: loisfounds1@wirral.gov.uk   07384512521
Branch Office:0151 666 3040

Published on: July 8, 2020