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TUC sets out plan for £15/hour minimum care wage

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for a sectoral minimum wage of £15 per hour, plus enhanced terms and conditions in a new care workforce strategy for England.

As well as increased pay, the deal would include sick pay, secure contracts and full payment for all time worked, as well as access to efficient labour market enforcement mechanisms.

Other calls in the plan are:

  • Worker voices heard and valued including through sectoral collective bargaining arrangements and through the creation of National Partnership Forums in social care and childcare
  • Skills, training, and progression pathways with nationally negotiated, accredited and transferable training frameworks, aligned with national pay structures  
  • Staffing levels based on need; zero-tolerance approach to workplace abuse with comprehensive safeguarding and support.

To deliver this strategy the TUC is calling for government to take the following enabling actions:

  • Provide adequate, long-term treasury funding to deliver the strategy including off-setting 13 years of real terms cuts to local authority budgets  
  • Support local authorities to move towards public provision of social care with conditions to ensure employment standards and high quality care
  • Develop in-depth workforce data and insight  
  • Better care contingency planning  
  • Include worker voice in the implementation of technology.

New TUC analysis shows that across the UK care workers are earning below the real living wage and are significantly underpaid relative to pay across the rest of the economy.

  • More than three in five (61 per cent) social care workers and senior care workers earn less than the real living wage.
  • Social care workers earn only around 65 per cent of the median salary for all employees (£21,500 per annum compared to £33,000).  

In a statement, Care Workers’ Charity CEO Karolina Gerlich, said: “Care workers are highly skilled professionals who deserve to work in a sector with a robust policy and a sensible funding model so they can deliver outstanding care to everybody. Whilst we are pleased to see this report, we are left wondering if our government will listen and support the changes that are so desperately needed in the care sector.”

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