Inverclyde Council and Health & Social Care Partnership has become one of the first in Scotland to achieve trade union recognition from UNISON because it is working towards high standards in homecare and better conditions for home care workers.
The Ethical Care Charter was developed after UNISON’s long campaign to raise the concerns of service users, providers and homecare. UNISON Scotland’s reports ‘Time to Care’ and ‘We care do you?’ recently highlighted that poor terms and conditions were leading to lower standards of care across Scotland.
Inverclyde Council and the Health & Social Care Partnership has formally adopted the Charter after UNISON recognised the council’s emphasis on recruiting and retaining homecare staff.
Robin Taggart, Secretary of UNISON Inverclyde Branch, said: ‘This is an important first step towards fair and ethical employment practices being provided by all home care providers across Inverclyde. We are pleased to recognise that Inverclyde Council and Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership has become one of the first in Scotland to adopt UNISON’S Ethical Care Charter. It clearly demonstrates a shared commitment to achieving fair work, better pay and improved quality of care for everyone employed in the sector in Inverclyde. We look forward to working with the Inverclyde Council to improve our care services across the region.’
Joe Lynch, UNISON’s regional organiser, said: “We are delighted that Inverclyde Council and the Health & Social Care Partnership has become one of the first in Scotland to adopt UNISON’S Ethical Care Charter. We are working hard behind the scenes with others and know that many councils are hoping to follow suit and be recognised as UNISON Ethical Care providers. This is a hugely important first step towards fair and ethical employment practices being provided by third sector home care providers across Inverclyde. It clearly demonstrates a shared commitment to achieving fair work, better pay and improved quality of care for everyone employed in the sector in Inverclyde.”
The Charter allows workers to spend the time they need with clients rather than be restricted to a specific time slot and to be paid for their travel time and costs. Where possible people will see the same homecare worker and zero hour contracts will not be used in place of permanent contracts. Staff will be paid at least the Living Wage and will be covered by an occupational sick pay scheme to ensure that staff are not pressurised to work when they are ill to protect the welfare of their vulnerable clients.
Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership Chair Councillor Joe McIlwee said: “For many years we have been developing the homecare service in Inverclyde putting user need and quality of care at its centre. We have long recognised the importance of ensuring staff receive the best possible pay and conditions and are given the opportunity to train and develop. I am delighted the council and the HSCP’s efforts have been recognised by UNISON and that we have formally signed up to commit ourselves to maintaining those standards.
“Homecare workers provide a lifeline service for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. The Council and our partners in the HSCP recognise the excellent job they do and by signing up to the Charter offer their support and commitment to a highly skilled and valued workforce.”