On Wednesday 16th November, UNISON held a parliamentary briefing to raise awareness of the effects of cuts and privatisation in the social care sector. At the same time, across the UK, local branches organised special SOS Day events. These called upon council’s to Save Our Services, and were timed to raise awareness of the publication of the UNISON report The Damage: Care in Crisis. Based on surveying over 1000 social care workers, the report highlights the real world effect of the £1.9 billion cut from funding in the last decade.
UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield said:
“Cuts have left a trail of destruction and this is affecting those in desperate need of care. Care workers do a vital job looking after the most vulnerable in society. But they’re not getting the support they need from their employers.”
UNISON are calling on councils to sign up to the ethical care charter. This charter protects both the care worker and their client – for example by matching the duration of each visit to client need, not an arbitrary 15 minute slot and by preventing zero hour contracts being used instead of permanent contracts. Cathy Roblin, a convenor for Southampton District branch and Equalities Officer, explained:
"Whilst MP’s were attending the parliamentary briefing at Westminster, staff, councillors and members of the public dropping into Southampton Civic Centre took time out to visit a special presentation outlining the effect of local service cuts.
"Southampton District branch had promoted this event with early morning flyering; reps and organisers talked to staff on their way to work, and the message was clear. Cuts weren’t just an issue for national politics. They were happening right here."