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Date: Friday 13 June 2014

UNISON celebrates big victory for low paid care workers

UNISON welcomes Capability Scotland’s decision to introduce the Scottish Living Wage back dated to 1 April 2014.

UNISON Scotland’s recent report Scotland: It’s Time to Care highlighted the issue of chronic low pay in the sector.

UNISON has been part of the Scottish Living Wage Campaign for many years and a key concern is care workers, particularly those working in the private and charitable sectors. Capability Scotland’s decision to pay the living wage will bring an immediate benefit to over 400 staff. It is a big improvement to the pay of a largely female workforce who provide vital care for disabled children and adults across Scotland.

Deborah Dyer, UNISON’s regional organiser for the charity sector, said ‘We understand the Scottish Living Wage comes at a cost and we know that the external funding environment is challenging. But that does not excuse low pay. The Scottish Living Wage was introduced in the public sector and Capability Scotland has shown it is possible for charities to pay the living wage too. We urge others charities to follow their lead because it is simply the right thing to do.’ 

She continued, ‘Our research shows that care workers feel a huge sense of responsibility to the disabled children and adults they care for. UNISON believes they should receive a decent wage. We are delighted Capability Scotland have made this decision it is a morale booster for care workers’

Dave Watson, head of UNISON bargaining and campaigns, said ‘all charities should look carefully at what they pay their care workers if they are serious about the quality and continuity of care. Provisions in the Procurement Reform Act, which UNISON campaign for, means councils can now legally require contractors to pay the living wage, but this also needs to be fully funded by the Scottish Government.’

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. The Scottish Living wage is paid at £7.65 per hour.
  2. Following discussions with UNISON and other recognised trade unions, Capability Scotland has agreed to introduce the Scottish Living Wage of £7.65 per hour with effect from 1st April 2014. It will bring an immediate benefit to over 400 staff. Some low paid staff will get a 14% pay rise.
  3. Capability Scotland say in a letter to their staff “We believe this is an essential change to our terms and conditions as it has a strong, positive impact on our lowest paid staff. The recognised trade unions have welcomed our decision and agreed that the pay rates for these staff had to be a priority for us”
  4. UNISON have been leading the campaign for a living wage with other organisations in the Scottish Living Wage Campaign http://slw.povertyalliance.org/
  5. The full UNISON Scotland survey – Scotland: It’s Time to Care – can be accessed on our website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/socialwork/timetocare.pdf This report is based on a survey which was carried out throughout Scotland and the figures are based on the results of more than 300 homecare workers throughout the community and voluntary sector, local government and the NHS.
  6. UNISON are the largest trade union in Scotland and the trade union which represents care workers



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