Scotland can deliver better pay and conditions for social care workers
Scottish Greens will use the final full week of campaigning in the Holyrood election (w/b 25 April) to highlight their commitment to improving pay and conditions for carers.
In addition to the party’s headline pledge of a Living Wage Plus of £9 an hour for social care staff, the Greens are demanding improved working conditions such as paid travel time, sick leave, skills training and an end to zero-hours contracts.
While carers are usually paid for the time they spend in an elderly person's home, many are not paid for the time they spend in their car travelling between clients. Research suggests travel time can take up to 30 per cent of a carer's shift.
Alison Johnstone, Health and Social Care spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for Lothian, said:
“Carers are undervalued and underpaid. They provide a vital service. Scotland can and must do better on this.
“Earlier this year my Green colleagues on City of Edinburgh Council proposed a funded plan to pay a Living Wage Plus of £9 an hour to social care staff. With a strong group of Green MSPs we can push for this policy to be rolled out across Scotland, and our analysis suggests to do this would only cost £20million - an investment that would deliver huge benefits to our society.
“By improving pay in social care we can improve recruitment and retention of staff, which in turn will address the gaps in social care provision that cause elderly and infirm people to sit in hospital when they could be being cared for at home or in a homely setting. We must also do more to adapt people's homes so we can care for increasingly complex health needs.
“We must see working conditions improved for carers, including paid travel time. It’s simply unacceptable that so many carers are not compensated for the amount of time they spend travelling between clients. Social care is a crucial issue for the future of Scotland and we need a bolder Holyrood with more Green voices to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.”
The Scottish Greens are polling strongly on the regional vote, suggesting MSPs will be elected from across the eight regions. The party aims to raise around £1billion in extra revenue to invest in public services by cutting income tax for everyone earning less than £26,500, while asking high earners to pay more, and by replacing Council Tax with a fairer system of property tax under which most households would pay less.
Survey of care workers by Unison showed 50 per cent do not get paid for travel between clients