Living Wage for care workers
Alex Rowley MSP visited a care home in his Cowdenbeath constituency this week to highlight the need for the introduction of the ‘living wage’ for workers across the care sector in Fife and Scotland.
The Scottish Labour deputy leader said that there is a ‘crisis’ developing in care across Scotland where recruitment and retention of high quality skilled carers is becoming more and more difficult by the week.
He said; “I have talked to many care operators who tell me that the recruitment and retention of staff is more and more challenging. This is one of the most sensitive and crucial sectors in Scotland when it comes to the care of our growing elderly population and being a carer is a very demanding job as we need to ensure the very best care and support for older people who need looked after. It is therefore wrong that we completely undervalue that role by paying low wages to so many who work in the private care sector which makes up almost 80% of care provision in Scotland.
“I am pleased that Scottish Labour will make the payment of the ‘living wage’ across Scotland’s care sector a fully funded manifesto commitment for next years 2016 election. In recent months we have seen many companies in retail and elsewhere announce they will pay the living wage but the care sector which is dependent on public funds cannot make such a commitment unless government makes the funds available and this means less and less people will be attracted as carers whilst more and more leave feeling undervalued in one of the most important yet lowest paid jobs in the country. This must be addressed”.
The minimum wage is currently £6.70 per hour whilst the living wage is paid at £8.25 an hour. The majority of residents in care homes are in places paid for by the local councils through a nationally agreed payment rate. Mr Rowley says that councils do not have the money to meet the increase to pay the cost of paying the living wage and therefore the cost will have to be met by the Scottish Government. Every Council in Scotland and the Scottish Government pay the living wage as a minimum wage to their lowest paid workers and recently companies such as Aldi and Morrison’s have introduced the living wage as the minimum pay for their workers.
Photo shows Alex Rowley on a visit to Alexander House Crossgates speaking with staff about the campaign to have the living wage introduced across the care sector.
Care workers are lowest paid in Scotland – must be tackled Rowley