Urgent need to organise in social care workforce

Lilian Macer
Lilian Macer

Social care workers are an under pressure and growing section of the public sector workforce but there are significant challenges to organising them.

This was the message that Scotland took to conference as it backed our motion calling for an organising strategy specific to this group of workers, focussing on a learning and organising strategy to support these workers to expand their roles and to meet regulatory requirements.

Moving the motion, Scotland Convener Lilian Macer told delegates that despite the hugely important role social care plays within our local communities, local government has borne the brunt of government cuts, with billions cut from council budgets and more than 90% of all public sector job losses in Scotland.

“This attack on social care services and our members jobs must stop,” slammed Lilian.

She spoke of the urgent need for investment in local services and investment in the workforce.

“Proper staffing levels, decent wages, security of employment and adequate training are key to quality local services and to the kind of decent society we all want to live in.”

Lilian added that the Fair Work Agenda in Scotland has been making a difference. UNISON has been raising the trade union voice, helping to deliver the living wage to all workers providing social care and ensuring that a range of workforce matters are included in procurement.

Fair taxation
“Our message continues to be that high quality public services are affordable and can be funded through fair taxation.

“This is the basis for decent services provided by properly rewarded staff and is key to achieving our social objectives,” said Lilian.

She called for a clear organising strategy for the social care workforce.

“The changing nature of this workforce and the number of people employed part-time or on no fixed contractual hours is a significant challenge but one we must overcome,” she warned.

In Scotland UNISON will lead on work that will look in detail at employment practice, highlighting poor practice by employers to ensure that the Fair Work Convention dimensions – effective voice; opportunity; fulfilment; security and respect are embedded in workplaces.

“Having an organising strategy with a focus on recruitment is good for our members and the local community we serve.”

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