Congress once again condemned short-term
cost “saving” practices which
undermine the care of older people in
Scotland and the STUC will press the Scottish
Government and the Labour Party to take
action to end such practices.
UNISON’s amendment highlighted
the need for a well paid, well trained
and secure workforce to achieve high standards
of care, and pointed to the important
role of trade unions in improving staff
confidence and the quality of care.
UNISON’s Sam Macartney said, “The
idea that if you treat people well you’ll
get better work out of them shouldn’t
be a controversial one. Neither should
the idea that our elderly and vulnerable
deserve the best possible care.
“Sadly, however, there are far
too many employers in the private, voluntary
and public sector who don’t seem
to agree,” warned Sam.
“They will say that they are providing
the best possible care, but when they
talk about their staff, the terms they
use are more likely to feature words like
‘cost effective’ or ‘time
efficient’ rather than ‘caring’
“That’s not because staff
aren’t caring or dedicated. It’s
just that is not what matters to their
bosses. They aren’t people delivering
intimate care to the old and frail. They
are a cost to be controlled.”
Sam reminded Congress that the private
and voluntary care home industry is ultimately
dependent on the public purse that if
the living wage was made a part of all
public contracts, that would at least
exclude the most greedy of those who compete
on price, not quality.
He slammed the use of zero hours contracts
and their impact not just on the workers
but also on the older people they care
“We in this hall know that the
most effective way of giving staff a voice
and insisting on both decent working conditions
and maintaining standards, is to join
a union and make sure your workplace is
“We know that Congress, but it’s
the task of all of us to get out and make
sure that everyone knows it. Because maintaining
and improving standards depends on it.
And if we are lucky enough to get old,
so will we.