Union demands all social care bosses pay up

The North Lanarkshire branch of public service 
union UNISON has urged bosses in the care sector 
to confirm they will pay 
workers their full wage if 
they are unable to work 
because of the coronavirus.

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UNISON, which represents thousands of care and support workers assisting clients at home and in care homes, has been inundated with calls from members who are receiving no pay or statutory sick pay while isolating to prevent clients in their care from contracting the virus.

Now Lanarkshire branches have joined forces and written to all care sector employers seeking assurances workers will receive full pay if they have to stay off due to the virus.

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Marie Quigley, Secretary of the North Lanarkshire branch of UNISON said: “What kind of society do we live in where workers may catch a virus at work then stay off to stop it spreading and don’t even get paid while they’re off? It’s time employers put people before profit rather than treating them as dispensable commodities.

Stephen Smellie, branch secretary of the South Lanarkshire branch and deputy convener of

UNISON Scotland said deputy convener of UNISON Scotland said: “We are advising members who were not paid their normal wages whilst off due to Covid to approach their employer to request that payment of wages is made at the earliest opportunity.

“Where they do not receive a positive response to this request we advise them to contact UNISON and we will take the issue up on their behalf.”

He added: “Health and social care workers more than anyone else have to isolate for up to two weeks because they or a member of their household has Covid-19 symptoms. This is not only to protect their own health but to protect everyone they work with.

“We have other members who have to shield due to their own or a family member’s underlying health issues where they are advised to adhere to very strict social distancing – impossible in a care setting.

“It is a scandal the frontline workers we rely on to care for our most vulnerable are being penalised financially because they take time off to protect those they care for.

“The public is in no doubt about their value and the fact they are so poorly paid. We can’t stand by and allow this to continue, especially when additional funding has been made available by the Scottish Government.

“Workers in these situations should be paid their full wages when unable to attend work. This is part of the intention contained within the Scottish Government and Scottish Trade Union Congress Fair Work statement.

“UNISON at Scottish and local level are aware this creates issues for employers in terms of finances and so we engaged in further discussions with the government, alongside representatives of the private and third sector care providers to ensure the intention in the Fair Work statement would be able to be implemented.

“UNISON is keen to work with employers to ensure the local authorities and health and social care partnerships provide the necessary financial support as quickly as possible.”