Scottish Government should enforce the Scottish Living Wage in charity care sector, says UNISON

UNISON is calling on the Scottish government to step in to enforce payment of the Scottish Living Wage to all staff working for Richmond Fellowship Scotland – one of the largest providers of social care services across Scotland.

UNISON has successfully campaigned to get the Scottish Living Wage (SLW) paid to all adult social care workers across Scotland. Charities that have a recognition agreement with UNISON – such as Capability Scotland and Quarriers – have been paying the SLW (currently £9) to all staff as per government policy. However, the Richmond Fellowship Scotland still refuses to implement the policy for its entire workforce.

UNISON is currently balloting its members in the Richmond Fellowship Scotland on a pay offer which separates so-called ‘frontline’ and ‘non-frontline’ staff. The offer would see carers receiving a 2.5 per cent increase but would still leave many earning less than the SLW – leaving carers languishing on poverty pay. UNISON is recommending members reject this offer.

Deborah Clarke, UNISON regional organiser for third sector in Scotland, said:

“Despite repeated requests, the Richmond Fellowship Scotland refuses to engage with us and continues to pay regional poverty pay to its staff without any negotiation.

“These care staff are sadly not valued enough by the organisation to provide a decent and fair wage to everyone in their organisation across Scotland leaving staff, many low paid women, vulnerable and feeling undervalued. This is simply not acceptable.

“These carers do life-changing, challenging work, caring for some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland. We call on The Richmond Fellowship to implement the SLW for all their staff and for the government to investigate why this charity that refuses to pay the SLW is still being awarded public contracts.”

• The Richmond Fellowship Scotland is a charity which supports around 2,500 people across Scotland with a broad range of needs to live as independently as possible in their own homes and communities.
• Due to UNISON’s campaigning work to date, the Scottish Government has made additional funding available for carers organisations to pay the SLW, with the condition that it is paid to all staff in the organisation. This funding is available through local authorities to ensure the SLW is both paid and affordable.
• UNISON is the largest trade union representing charity workers in Scotland and continues to campaign for all staff in the care sector to get a minimum of £10 per hour for the incredible work they do looking after our most vulnerable citizens.
• The ballot ends on Thursday, 19 December.

For further information
Deborah Clarke, regional organiser for the community and voluntary sector: 07538 101225
Trisha Hamilton, communications officer, 0141 342 2877