On November 19 Camden became just the third local authority in London, alongside Islington and Southwark, and the ninth nationally to sign up to Unison’s Ethical Care Charter. See here a letter from branch secretary George Binette originally published in the Camden New Journal here.
Midst the remorseless rounds of cuts that the Labour administration continues to pursue at the behest of the government this is an all too rare bit of good news that could benefit hundreds of very low-paid careworkers and ultimately improve the quality of care provided.
Regrettably the New Journal has not yet found space to report it.
The charter is hardly a panacea for the reality of chronically low pay and poor condition for homecare workers, but Camden Unison welcomes the council’s public commitment to its modest demands:
• the London Living Wage as the minimum hourly rate for careworkers;
• an end to zero-hour contracts; and
• proper payment for travel time between service users’ homes.
The Unison branch will work to ensure its adoption will mark a significant first step towards halting the “race to the bottom” for careworkers’ pay, and terms and conditions of employment that has gone in tandem with the almost universal outsourcing of homecare provision for older and/or disabled people to the private sector.
Camden Unison maintains the regime of outsourcing social care services must end. The provision of homecare, as well as residential care facilities, should not be about private profit, but should instead be run directly by accountable public sector bodies with the workforces employed by local authorities as the best guarantee of humane, quality care for vulnerable people.
Camden Unison Branch Secretary