Unite celebrated a key victory for home care staff this week, after more than 300 Care at Home staff in South Ayreshire, Scotland secured a pay rise.
Following a joint claim from Unite and Unison, the unions negotiated a pay rise with South Ayrshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership, which will mean that these essential workers will get a full grade pay increase.
The unions have long pushed for a pay rise, and highlighted that after years of underinvestment in the service, staff morale plummeted amid staff shortages which left them overstretched and overworked. The Covid-19 pandemic only exacerbated this, leading to a significant increase in the number of critical care patients, which was a key driver behind Unite and Unison’s pay claim.
Speaking to the Ayr Advertiser, home care worker Allison Andrew said, “All home care staff try to do their best with the resources they have.
“It’s a very demanding job, both mentally and physically, and with coronavirus we have been under even more pressure,” she added. “We have had more patients who need ‘critical care’ level support and this has meant we need additional training in complex client needs. It is great to see this finally being recognised.”
Unite regional officer Paul Bennett explained why securing this pay rise now for these vital workers was such an important victory.
“This job re-evaluation claim was a joint claim from Unite and Unison lodged on behalf of all our member with South Ayrshire Council,” he said.
“I would just like it to be recognised that Unite worked hard on behalf of our members and was frustrated at the time being taken by the council to resolve an issue over pay which everyone knew including senior management and HR was a no brainer.
“I am glad that we finally got a well-deserved victory for our members who do an incredible job in the community under extreme conditions.”
South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership likewise hailed the pay rise.
A spokesperson told the Ayr Advertiser, “As part of this work and in recognition of the crucial role of our home carers, we have worked with trade unions to review their job descriptions and, as a consequence, amend the grade for the job from Level 4 to Level 5.
“The amendment gives these key workers the recognition they deserve for their invaluable contribution before and during the pandemic and in anticipation of future improvements.”
Unite Scotland paid a special tribute to the victory on its twitter page, noting, “We want to thank Unite member Libby particularly for all her hard work making sure Carers in SAC are recognised @unisonscot for working with us to get the best outcome for workers.”
Care at Home staff will receive their pay rise backdated to when the submission was first sent.
By Hajera Blagg