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Campaigning for full pay for self isolation

On 25 May Nav Mishra MP asked a question in parliament about full pay for self isolation. Health Secretary Matt Hancock replied recognising the importance of this issue and stating that the allocation of money to local councils through the infection control fund can be used for this. This statement is important and should be used to push for full pay in all areas. See the exchange here:
https://www.facebook.com/107278050942427/posts/143620510641514/

The basic argument has been won in the NHS and now in social care – workers need full pay for self isolation. Any less means workers not being able to afford to self isolate in line with public health guidance and risks spreading the infection. 
The full guidance on the infection control fund is here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-care-homes/coronavirus-covid-19-care-home-support-package#annex
Here is an animation explaining about the fund:
https://youtu.be/UApQ-_UNXy0

And an article from the Institute of Employment Rights explaining the implications of this announcement:
https://www.ier.org.uk/comments/victory-on-government-funding-of-sick-pay-for-care-workers-some-background-and-implications/

But winning the argument is not enough. We need to organise for this.Local councils should be ensuring their care providers are paying full pay. Here is a model letter you can use to campaign for this.
https://safeandequal.org/take-action-for-careworkers-lobby-your-local-authority/

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Six demands for home & social care workers

1. Full pay for all self isolation
2. PPE for all staff
3. More uniforms
4. Clear advice and procedures
5. Increased flexibility and leave
6. Right to join a union and have a say

  1. Full pay for all self isolation, including for those with Covid19 symptoms, family with suspected Covid19 or due to underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus according to government advice.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment to be provided to all staff suitable to their role, at least gloves, aprons, face mask and goggles or face mask with visors.
  3. Increased supplies of Uniform and expenses for increased uniform washing.
  4. Clear advice on Covid19 and the procedures for keeping themselves and clients safe. Including on PPE, social distancing and cleaning and on how to care for those with Covid19.
  5. Increased flexibility and special leave provision for staff who are having to deal with additional childcare or family illness during this crisis.
  6. Involvement in decisions on processes and procedures relating to Covid-19. The ability to communicate with fellow workers and the right to be part of a trade union.

Track and Trace

The governments track and trace guidance issued by the government states health and social care workers should follow ‘separate guidance,’ explaining that employers in these sectors are experts in the field of infection control and that specialist public health procedures will be put in place for Care homes. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works 

The governments record on social care should mean we should approach this with scepticism. The infection control procedures for care workers should be more even more thorough than for the public. But a local track and trace pilot has shown reluctance from health and care sector managers to let their workers follow guidance and concern that this leads to infection spread https://www.communitycontacttracers.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/SCCT-Pilot-Report-V2-Bing.pdf 

Any care workers identified through track and trace should be able to self isolate on full pay If you are contacted by track and trace and asked to self isolate make sure your employer is supporting that and giving full pay!

Safe & Equal organising meeting with John McDonnell MP and careworkers (Tues 12 May 7pm)

👉Join our organising meeting this Tuesday, 7pm, with John McDonnell MP and trade unionists from a wide range of sectors to plan the way forward.

REGISTER HERE: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcocuyprT4oE9Gh4mSBcWHAIRUPeUcmsUj3?fbclid=IwAR0ZS6AOF4wfYglZ3sUIvDc3MS1OGh3VMv27ofKi1OHH8UB_SOz6ehAWLYM

https://facebook.com/events/s/safe-and-equal-organising-meet/266480521169897/

Pay when self-isolating: why one standard for the NHS and another for social care?

The NHS says it is essential for safety that workers who need to self-isolate receive full pay, so they are not under financial pressure to work unsafely. Why on earth does this not apply to the care sector, where Covid-19 is running rampant?

NHS employers’ guidelines on staff terms and conditions say “it is essential for infection control purposes that staff members who are told to self-isolate… should receive full pay whilst in self-isolation. This includes bank staff and sub-contractors, who have to be physically present at an NHS facility to carry out their duties.”

NHS England has written to health service chief executives to insist on this. There seems to be a hole in the policy in terms of agency staff, in that no earnings from agency shifts count towards ‘full pay’, and agencies are instead urged to not provide staff who have been advised to self-isolate. And there is always the issue of whether the policy is being implemented on the ground, which requires strong action from trade unions and workers.

Nonetheless the policy is pretty clear. The situation in social care could not be more different.

The GMB and Unison are the two main unions with members among care workers. Research by the GMB last year found that of 795,000 carers working in the private sector, 55pc are not entitled to anything better than Statutory Sick Pay of £95.85 a week. Some of those, nominally self-employed or earning less than £120 a week, will not even get that. Research for the North West region of Unison found that 8 out of 10 care workers do not expect to be paid their wages if they have to self-isolate.

This situation could almost have been designed to prevent proper infection control.

Salford council has taken action to ensure all care workers in its area receive full pay when self-isolating. That is good and other councils should do the same. But the scale of the problem requires national action, by the government.

The Tories have waffled and evaded their responsibility for serious policies to ensure adequate PPE and testing. They have refused to even address the question of sick pay and pay during self-isolation. It is an utter scandal.

The situation in social care is a result of the privatisation of the sector and the driving down of workers’ terms and condition it has produced. That whole framework of social care needs to be changed, with public ownership, proper coordination planning and democratic control. But immediately we need to insist on much stronger workers’ rights, and first of all basic measures to ensure workers’ safety in the face of Covid-19. Proper sick pay should be top of the list.

North West Unison branches and Labour Councils lead the way in victories for careworkers

An absolutely HUGE week of wins for care workers across the North West! ✊✊

From campaign here: https://www.facebook.com/CareworkersvsCOVID19/

✅ Knowsley Council confirms pay rise for social care workers to the real Living Wage of £9.30p/h and additional sick pay support for care workers during Coronavirus crisis

✅ Liverpool Council confirm a £6m investment to ensure all social care workers get full sick pay and support

✅ Wirral Council gives care workers pay rise to the real Living Wage of at least £9.30 p/h for the next 6 months.

✅ Trafford Council sign up to Care Workers vs Covid-19 pledge to support care workers with proper sick pay, PPE and more.

✅ Halton Council signs the Care Workers vs COVID-19 pledge.

✅ Sefton Council signs the Care Workers vs COVID-19 pledge.

✅ Salford Council commits to pay all care workers proper sick pay during the Coronavirus crisis and to cover financial loss.

This is proof that when care workers come together and fight for what’s right we can win! 💪 Social care work is a vital public service and it should be funded, respected and valued – not just now but for good.❓ Is your council not on the list? Will you campaign in your local area for them sign up to our demands around PPE, sick pay, the real Living Wage and more❓Sign up and get involved 👉https://action.unison.org.uk/page/58242/petition/1

Merseyside care workers win full pay to self isolate or if sick with Covid-19

Sefton Council joined Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral and Halton’s local authorities to back trade union UNISON’s ‘Care Workers vs COVID-19’ campaign after hundreds of carers shared their ‘coronavirus horror stories.’

Liverpool City Council and Knowsley Council have both announced that they will pour money into local care services, (£6m and £2m respectively) in order to ensure that care workers who need to self-isolate, shield or take days off sick due to COVID-19 will be paid full normal pay, rather than Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) of £95 per week.

Meanwhile, Halton and Sefton Councils have both signed up to UNISON’s Care Workers vs COVID-19 pledge- committing them to protect the health, pay and employment of care workers, whilst Wirral Council have committed to give local care workers a pay rise to the real Living Wage of at least £9.30 per hour.

Full article:

https://www.champnews.com/story.asp?id=GN4_ART_1671221

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